This is probably one of the most frequently asked questions about mini IVF. Based on its name, some patients think it’s a simpler method compared to standard IVF treatments and some patients think it’s a solution to depleted ovarian reserves. In reality, neither of the two approaches fully explain what mini IVF really is or what it can do.
Mini IVF refers to using a milder medication protocol during IVF treatment in an attempt to recover only a few but good quality oocytes (eggs). Technically speaking, mini IVF and standard IVF have no difference with respect to their method except for the medication regimen followed by the patient. Therefore, it should be known that mini IVF is not a “simpler” or a “quicker” version of IVF- It is the same thing with only difference being the medication protocol.
The target patient group with mini IVF is women in more advanced age brackets, who still have an acceptable level of ovarian reserves. In other words, in order for a patient to qualify for this treatment, she needs to have an AMH level of at least 0.3 ng/mL, pointing to a certain level of ovarian reserve. If there are no egg reserves left in the ovaries, then there are no methods that will allow our patient to use her own eggs. The key difference between standard IVF treatment and mini IVF treatment at North Cyprus IVF Centre is that, a high dose of medication will be administered to the former group in order to stimulate the ovaries and produce an ovarian response so that we are able to obtain eggs to be used during the IVF treatment. In the latter, only a minimal dose of medication is administered. Mini IVF does not aim for as many eggs as it can get. It aims for only a few, but high quality eggs that will do the trick during the IVF treatment.
The reason why mini IVF cannot be utilized by women with highly depleted ovarian reserve is because when the reserves are highly depleted, patients do not respond to low doses of medication at all. In order to produce a response, very high doses of medication is required. This means that while standard IVF treatment can be attempted to women with very low ovarian reserves in an anticipation to recover some eggs, mini IVF cannot be administered to this patient group as there will be no response to medication.
To sum up, in order to utilize mini IVF as a method of treatment, we ideally look for the following criteria:
-Women between the ages of 40-47 with diminished but not exhausted ovarian reserves. If ovarian reserves are completely exhausted and the hormone levels indicate “undetectable” fertility level, using an egg donor is the only viable alternative for pregnancy with IVF treatment.
-Women who have already undergone standard IVF treatment where many eggs were retrieved but the outcome of treatment was negative.
-Women in older age brackets whose hormone levels still indicate optimal fertility, but IVF treatments fail to produce desired results.
Mini IVF offered at North Cyprus IVF Centre is a treatment option for patients in their early 40s who are still in the “acceptable” fertility range and still produce eggs but who cannot obtain success with standard IVF/ICSI treatments. In such cases, quality of the oocytes is one of the main suspects for IVF failures. In an attempt to increase the quality of these oocytes, North Cyprus IVF specialists offer a new alternative treatment strategy called “Mini IVF Treatment”.
Mini IVF is an IVF procedure that aims to obtain a lower count but higher quality of eggs after a stimulation cycle. In a regular IVF cycle, stimulation is done so that a certain amount of eggs can be retrieved in the end. However, mini IVF is designed so that only a few eggs of maximum quality can be retrieved. The higher the quality of the eggs, the higher the chances of success. Therefore, mini IVF is aimed at getting a low count but higher quality of eggs.
Mini IVF uses less drugs and injections. The reason is, in more advanced ages, the remaining ovarian reserves tend to be less optimal as far as quality is concerned, and these remaining reserves tend to be more sensitive to outside factors. If the reserves have been severely depleted, administering high doses of medication will not result in recruiting more eggs, but rather, will result in compromising the quality of remaining eggs in the reserves by exposing them to extremely high levels of hormonal supplements. Even for poor prognosis cases of older women with low ovarian reserve, there is an advantage to mini-IVF over high dose stimulation. Such patients normally produce very few eggs even when subjected to very high doses of stimulation medication. If patients respond to the milder medication dose, even if there is a single oocyte at the end of the stimulation protocol, this oocyte is much more likely to produce a viable embryo.
Mini IVF does not focus on the egg count, but rather, emphasizes the quality of the few eggs that will be produced after the stimulation cycle, therefore, patients who are in their early 40s and those with slightly elevated FSH levels (slightly reduced AMH levels) are perfect candidates for mini IVF. The reason is, this group of women can still produce eggs in an IVF cycle, but it’s more likely that the quality of their eggs will be compromised during standard high dose IVF treatments.
Nevertheless, it should be known that when a woman reaches a certain age, the ovarian reserve will be highly depleted and the quality will be highly compromised. Mini IVF will only help obtain slightly higher quality eggs compared to cycles using higher doses of medication. Therefore, if achieving success is more important than using own eggs for treatment, we recommend considering “IVF with Egg Donation” as a treatment option.
The first step in IVF treatments is always the same: “Testing”. Before we can make an effective assessment of your ovarian function and precisely calculate the dose of medication that will optimize your response to Mini IVF treatment, we will want to analyze some of your test results. The first things that we will ask you to provide us will be the following:
-Hormone tests for the female patient to be administered on the follicular phase of her menstrual cycle (ideally 2nd or 3rd day of the menstrual period). These hormone tests include FSH, LH, Estradiol, Prolactin, TSH and AMH hormone tests.
-Baseline trans-vaginal (TV) ultrasound scan for the female patient, again, on 2nd or 3rd day of her menstrual period. The purpose of the trans-vaginal scan is an assessment of the ovaries and the uterus to make sure there are no problems that can interfere with pregnancy.
-Semen analysis for the male patient to indicate volume, count, motility, morphology, pH and round cell parameters. The semen analysis is ideally done after three to four days of abstinence. Shorter and longer abstinence periods are not recommended.
-If the couple has already undergone standard IVF treatment(s), we will want to know a few aspects of their treatment such as the medication dosage administered, number of oocytes retrieved, quality grading of their oocytes, number of embryos reaching cleavage and/or blastocyst stage prior to the embryo transfer stage.
For more information on fertility testing, please visit or “Fertility Testing” page. These are the information which will help the specialists at North Cyprus IVF Centre to familiarize themselves with your case and make an affective assessment as to how to proceed with treatment. Once we can produce a treatment program based on this information, we will be able to provide you with a treatment calendar which specifies what needs to be done on a daily basis. This way, you can have the preliminary work done locally (initial testing, medication usage and scans) and come to Cyprus for only 5/6 days to finalize your treatment. However, if you do have the flexibility to travel for a longer period of time, then it will be a good idea to come here for the entire treatment so that we can perform all aspects of treatment from start to finish. This will necessitate your presence for a total of 18 days, starting with day 1 of your menstrual period.
Success with IVF treatments is like a multi-variable mathematical equation. It does not depend solely on one factor. Egg quality, sperm quality, eating habits, uterine and cervical conditions, expertise of the doctor and the embryologist are all very important factors when talking about IVF success. With this treatment, what we can do is, we can increase the quality of your eggs to offer you a higher chance of success. But it should be known that this treatment is not a magical procedure. It cannot increase your ovarian reserves, because each woman is born with a set of reserves which declines with every menstrual cycle starting from puberty, and it is simply not possible to re-fill the reserves. Mini IVF offers a slightly higher chance of success for women in older age brackets who suffer from infertility due to “aging oocytes” and a “decline in egg quality”. For success rates with this procedure, please see our “Success Rates” page.
As a traveling patient, you may be interested in knowing the exact cost you are likely to face when receiving your treatment at North Cyprus IVF Centre. While the cost of Mini IVF treatment itself costs 2,500 Euros, there are other payments you are likely to face which you should consider when budgeting for treatment. These are:
Cost of local testing and scans: Before we can assess your level of fertility and before we can identify the most suitable course of treatment, we will ask that you undergo a few tests if you haven’t already done so. The cost of these tests vary across countries but as a ball park figure, the total cost of pre-testing and scans should not exceed 400 Euros.
Cost of medication: Mini IVF uses a minimal dose of medication in order to recruit only a few, but high quality oocytes. The fact that dose of medication is low keeps the cost of medication low as well. Cost of medication will vary between 300-800 Euros depending on where you live and where you obtain your medication, and also the specific dose to be administered, which can only be decided once we make an assessment of your fertility level.
Cost of accommodation: We offer our patients a number of accommodation options during their stay in Cyprus. All options are listed on our “Accommodation” page. You can also choose your own accommodation and make your booking but please bear in mind that we can only provide complimentary ground transfers to and from the options that we offer. If you opt to stay at a different location, you will need to pay for your ground transfers.
Please contact us for more information.
For more information on our other treatments, please visit our “TREATMENTS” page.