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In Vitro Maturation

With in vitro maturation (IVM) eggs are removed from the ovaries and are collected when they are still immature. They are then matured in the laboratory before being fertilised. The difference between IVM and conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF) is that the eggs are immature when they are collected. This means that the woman does not need to take as many drugs before the eggs can be collected as she might if using conventional IVF, when mature eggs are collected.

Who are the candidates for IVM ?

  • Safer for patients having Polycystic Ovaries and they are the best candidates for this as there are greater number of follicles that continue to grow.
  • If you are susceptible to developing OHSS (ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome - a potentially dangerous over-reaction to fertility drugs).
  • Where the cause of a couple's infertility has been identified as being male factor only.
  • Unexplained infertility
  • IVF poor responders

How does IVM work ?

Step 1: As in conventional IVF, eggs are collected, but at an earlier stage, when they are immature. This means that you do not need to take as many ovary-stimulating hormones before your eggs are collected.

Step 2: The eggs are matured in a dish with the special IVM media placed in an incubator in the laboratory for one to two days.

Step 3: When the eggs are mature, they are fertilised with your partner’s, or donor’s sperm. Embryos are cultured then transferred to your womb, just as they would be with conventional IVF treatment.

Chance of having a baby with IVM ?

The chances of a successful pregnancy with IVM are similar to those with conventional IVF, with the following additional risks:

  • Because the eggs are immature when they are collected, it is likely that fewer eggs will be collected than in a conventional IVF cycle.
  • There is also a risk that not all the eggs will mature sufficiently to be fertilised with your partner's or a donor's sperm.

What are the risks of IVM ?

As IVM is a new technique, there is not enough evidence to be absolutely certain of its safety as the number of children born is very few - about 400 worldwide - and those that have been born are still very young. The known risks of IVM are:

  • Fewer eggs are collected than in conventional IVF.
  • The usual risks involved in having a general aesthetic.
  • A clinic should suggest IVM because they consider that your susceptibility to OHSS is higher than average. If your clinic offers this technique, they should let you know why they think it is beneficial to you.