28.10.2014

Natural ivf over 40

People were sympathetic but at no point was it even suggested that, were I to meet a man, I had anything more than an outside chance of conceiving — and only then with the help of IVF.
This method has been a global success story, with the number of IVF cycles in the UK resulting in a live birth doubling from around 12 per cent in the early 1980s to around a quarter today - or a third for women aged under 35.
One of the most vocal advocates of a more natural approach is Professor Geeta Nargund, founder of the CREATE Fertility network of clinics.
Various experts had told her that her eggs would be too old or that IVF would represent her only chance of conceiving, but despite that she fell pregnant naturally — twice — once, with twins, that she sadly miscarried, and subsequently with an ectopic pregnancy that resulted in the removal of one of her Fallopian tubes. Although CREATE offers both natural and modified natural IVF, Prof Nargund argues that the latter is an improvement on the former. Like Brown, now 37, Taylor was conceived without high levels of the powerful hormonal drugs used in conventional IVF to boost egg production, which can have unpleasant and sometimes dangerous side effects. When she didn’t conceive, she was given the fertility drug Clomid and, a year later, had IVF. For while the NHS offers infertile couples aged between 23 and 39 three cycles of IVF, standards of service vary across the country, with many primary care trusts offering fewer cycles. Modified natural IVF – the method by which Taylor was conceived - is almost the same but uses very low doses of fertility medication for two to three days, to encourage collection of a naturally produced egg. By the time Nicole was 42, she had been through IVF six times and describes herself as ‘emotionally and financially exhausted’.  Then she read about CARE Fertility in Nottingham, offering fertility treatment for women over 40.


It also works with a woman’s natural cycle and requires patients to take drugs to stimulate the ovaries for just five to nine days rather than the standard four to six weeks. In fact Nicole was diagnosed with a condition where the body’s immune system goes into overdrive, producing killer cells which enter the placenta and attack the embryo.
I was concerned about the drugs involved." She decided to explore her options and contacted dozens of fertility clinics before coming across one that offered alternatives to conventional IVF.
Create Health Clinics in London offered two procedures that sounded promising: "soft" IVF, which uses minimal doses of drugs and "natural-cycle" IVF, in which no drugs at all are used.
Compared to the average ?5,000 cost of a cycle of standard IVF, soft IVF (?2,500 per cycle) and natural-cycle IVF (?1,500) were also considerably cheaper. Natural IVF success rates are hard to compare because fewer than two in 100 British patients go down this route and most are women with very few eggs who would struggle to conceive even with conventional treatment.
According to the National Institute of Care Excellence (NICE), natural IVF should not be offered on the NHS because of its low success rate: one 2002 study put it at seven per cent per cycle.
However, supporters say that because natural IVF is around half the price of conventional IVF and not drug intensive, women can afford to do several cycles in a shorter time-frame, boosting their chances.
Prices are around ?2,000 to 3,000 a cycle for natural or mild IVF and ?5,000 upwards for conventional treatment. This procedure uses sophisticated scanning techniques to monitor blood flow and the growth of an egg within a woman's natural cycle.


Research at the University Medical Centre in Utrecht, Netherlands and the University of New Jersey, in the US, found soft IVF and standard IVF had comparable pregnancy rates. Soft IVF produced 39 per cent of healthy embryos compared to just 28 per cent in women given conventional IVF. Bill Ledger, Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Sheffield and head of the Assisted Conception Unit at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital, says that the benefits of soft IVF are so clear, he hopes it will one day replace high-dose approaches.
Working with a woman's natural cycle relies on staff being available six or seven days a week.
Another factor is that clinics wishing to remain at the top of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority's league tables, do not want to offer natural-cycle IVF which requires more attempts to achieve a pregnancy, thereby achieving lower success rates. Jennifer Stringford, a writer from London, turned to natural-cycle IVF after being told by a leading teaching hospital that she would never be able to have her own child. My only hope for a child would be through egg donation." But Jennifer happened to read about natural-cycle IVF.



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