What Is IVM and Is it better than IVF?

What Is IVM and Is it better than IVF?

Since the birth of the first IVF baby four decades ago, IVF helped millions of people around the world achieve their dream of becoming parents. Since it conception, there has been a continuous effort to improve the efficacy and safety of the treatment. Several years ago, a new technique, called in vitro maturation (IVM) has emerged offering an alternative to IVF that may be more suitable for some of the patients . Can this new technology, replace IVF? Here is all you need to know about IVM and who can benefit from it.

What is IVM? And what is the difference between IVM and IVF?

IVM is an assisted reproductive technology which involves collecting eggs from a woman before they matured. In IVM, the eggs undergo the maturation process outside the body in a petri dish whereas in IVF the maturation is induced inside the woman’s body and involves injectable hormones. Once the eggs complete their maturation process in the lab, they are fertilized, and the developing embryo transferred in the uterus similar to standard IVF procedure. 

The stages of Ovulation. In standard IVF doctors wait until mature follicles develop before aspirtating them while in IVM doctors aspirate the medium sized developing follicles

IVM technology was first performed in the early 90s however, this original procedure wasn’t as successful as the regular IVF procedure. A recent discovery of a new oocyte growth factor called Cumulin used in combination of c-AMP resulted in healthier matured oocytes. This latest advancement improved the success rate of IVM. Current clinical data shows success rates is similar with a slight advantage for IVF (32% vs. 40%).

Here is how IVM Works:

  1. Initial blood tests and ultrasounds are performed to determine the best day to retrieve the immature eggs.
  2. On day 3-5 of the menstrual cycle, another ultrasound is performed to confirm the presence of egg-containing follicles in the ovaries. An injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is administered to induce ovulation.
  3. Thirty-six hours later, the immature eggs can be retrieved using a minimally invasive procedure.
  4. The immature eggs are placed in cell culture and stimulated with Cumulin and c-AMP for 24-48 hours until they reach maturity.
  5. The mature egg is fertilized by a fertilization technique known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
  6. The embryos are left to grow in the lab for 5-6 days.
  7. The woman receives estrogen and progesterone injections in preparation for the embryo transfer in cases where a fresh transfer was planned.
  8. The embryos with the most chances to implant are transferred back to the uterus.
  9. Pregnancy is confirmed within 1-2 weeks.

IVM advantages:

The maturation of the eggs in IVM requires little to no hormone injections which may make the procedure more affordable to many patients.
Also, using less hormones eliminates the side-effects of drug stimulation which is especially important to women who suffer from ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) a potentially life-threatening in severe cases.
IVM is ideal for women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome. PCOS patients are prone to develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) with conventional IVF treatments.
IVM could also be very beneficial for women recovering or in remission from cancer, as cancer cells could also be stimulated by the ovulation induction hormones. Using less hormones could reduce relapse risk. Also, as the process of ovarian stimulation is shorter for patients undergoing IVM may be advantageous for patients trying to freeze eggs or embryos prior to starting cancer treatment.

Best candidates for IVM
* Women under the age of 35
* Women with a large number of follicles per ovary (ideally >15)
* High ovarian reserve results – Anti-mullerian hormone (AMH) level in the upper half for the woman’s age group
* Women who went through IVF cycle before and produced a large number of eggs during that cycle

In conclusion, IVM is a simple and safe alternative for women who require IVF. The decision to use IVM is not for everyone and It is important to consult your fertility specialist so you can make an informed decision.

We are proud to offer this groundbreaking IVM technology to Juno’s patients at our affiliate clinic, Anova Fertility.

Interested to learn more? Want to check if IVM is right for you?
Juno team will be happy to provide you more information about this technology.
Contact us to book your consultation today!


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