Lower Success Rates
At this point the reality is that MS IVF has a lower success rate than traditional IVF and every failed attempt lowers a clinic's success rate. Right or wrong, patients pick a clinic based upon that rate. These patients don't generally care if the reason it's low is because their procedures are different—they just want a baby. As a result, most clinics don't offer MS IVF at all. Those that do have strict criteria to maximize the chances of success.
Dr. Leondires says he and his colleagues in the field of infertility don't work in a moral or ethical vacuum. He personally stresses when he gets 15 to 25 eggs and only three of them are good, he wonders: Did he overmedicate? Is there something else he missed? Then he looks at the other side, which is that he got three good eggs. There's no guarantee that would have happened with MS IVF.
An MS IVF Success Story
After Christine Leach of New York, New York, conceived her first child via intrauterine insemination (IUI), she underwent four unsuccessful IUI procedures with her regular obstetrician in an effort to conceive a second child. Her doctor then referred her to New Hope Fertility Center where she underwent several unsuccessful IVF treatments. Traditional IVF treatments usually produce an average of 15 eggs—Leach produced only one poor-quality egg. Seeing those results, Dr. Zhang suggested that they try minimal stimulation IVF. His reasoning was that she was producing few eggs anyway; they may be able to improve the quality with fewer drugs.
Dr. Zhang's instincts were correct and Leach gave birth to Ashton on Valentine's Day. She credits the more gentle approach with her ability to conceive. "I felt like I was in a science experiment when I was going through traditional IVF," says Leach. "It was very stressful, and I felt terrible from the injections. The minimal stimulation therapy followed my natural cycle more closely, and I felt more like myself."
Leach's speculation that the reduced emotional and physical stress of MS IVF is intriguing in light of recent research on the effects of stress and stress reduction on infertility and pregnancy rates. It also points out what Dr. Leondires says is the best result of Dr. Zhang's research, which is the movement toward personalization of treatment for infertile patients. For some, this would mean MS IFV; for others, it would still mean traditional IVF or perhaps some other procedure. Ultimately, this ability to personalize treatment would save time and money, control the problem of unnecessary embryos, and result in greater success rates for everyone.