At the MFC, approximately 5-10% of couples underoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF)will do so without using any fertility medications, aside from your HCG shot to trigger ovulation. This is known as “natural cycle IVF”.
Natural cycle IVF/ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) statistically has a much lower chance of pregnancy compared to a stimulated cycle. This is because only 1 egg can be retrieved during a natural cycle. Further, the egg has to be collected before the woman spontaneously ovulates; in older women, this is hard to predict. Because of this, about 20% of natural cycle IVF couples wll not be able to retrieve an egg.
Despite the overall lower chances of success, certain couples may benefit from natural cycle IVF or ICSI using the single egg, as it may produce a better-quality embryo or help with implantation. Women that may benefit include:
- Poor responders
- Older women
- Couples with a history of poor embryo quality following stimulated cycles
- Women who can’t take fertility medicines
Because there is only 1 embryo, a day 3 transfer is usually recommended with natural cycle IVF.