New Low Intensity IVF Treatment Ignites Debate Among Docs


A new in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure which claims to be a safer, cheaper, and easier route to conception than standard IVF treatment has sparked debate among fertility experts.


According to an article which headlined in the St. Louis online newspaper,, the new IVF treatment, known as low-intensity IVF, Eco-IVF, or mini IVF, has been rapidly rising in popularity among patients over the last few years. Dr. Sherman Silber, from the Infertility Center of St. Louis and one of the first to begin using this new IVF technique in the United States, claims that this so-called less risky and more cost effective procedure can actually create the same pregnancy results as standard IVF protocols.


“We get better quality eggs, and almost every single one of these eggs forms into a beautiful embryo,” claims Silber. His technique, which was originally developed by fertility experts in Japan involves using a basic fertility drug, Clomid, to mildly stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs which are then removed, fertilized into embryos and then “flash-frozen” in a lab setting. Then, once the patient’s uterine lining is ready, these eggs are thawed and implanted into the uterus for pregnancy.


Because there are fewer, and less costly medications needed to stimulate the ovaries the patients benefit from not having to pay as much out of pocket for the procedure as well as have reduced rates of complications arising from standard ovarian stimulation.


Too Good to Be True?


Despite the patient’s enthusiasm about the new procedure, and some support by the professional community, many doctors are skeptical of Silbers claims.


Dr. Norbert Gleicher of Yale University’s Department of Obstetrics and medical director of the Center for Human Reproduction in New York recently wrote a response to Dr. Silber’s research in a low-intensity IVF, questioning its claims and rise in popularity.


According to Gleicher, there is very little real evidence to show that the pregnancy rates are as successful as those with standard IVF protocols. Until that becomes avaliable, this technique should offered only as an experimental infertility treatment.


“I’m not against the idea, but what I am against is when patients are deprived of expected pregnancy chances without them knowing about it,” said Gleicher.


Dr. Gleicher and his colleagues have conducted their own studies using a similar low-intensity procedure and have not been able to duplicate such high pregnancy success rates. “Our writing and our little pilot study will hopefully put a halt to [the use of this kind of low-intensity procedure], or at least the present way of doing it.”

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This article has 4 comments

  1. Teddy 02/10/2012, 12:21 pm:

    With any medical procedure people should speak with different doctors and get as much information as possible before they make a decision.

    • Jill 02/14/2012, 4:08 pm:

      Yeah, and I feel like it’s prudent to wait for more research on this subject before making a decision.

    • Laura Miller 02/15/2012, 1:28 pm:

      Yes! And there is more and more information of these issues i updating over theinternet everyday so I also feel its important to be inform.

  2. Kelly 02/13/2012, 9:14 am:

    It seems that if this type of infertility treatment is too good to be true, it probably is. I agree with Teddy that women should be getting as many opinions as possible prior to seeking IVF treatment.

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