Natural Treatments


Natural Treatments

Natural conception is the best way to have a healthy baby and we offer options to help patients achieve a baby with as natural a method possible. This included natural cycle IVF (treatment without any fertility drugs) and minimal stimulation IVF which typically uses oral medications and a few injectable medications this helps keep exposure to fertility medication to a minimum. This also markedly reduces side effects for fertility medications and significantly reduces the cost of IVF procedures. It also offers competitive pregnancy rates to conventional IVF, especially in selected groups of women like advanced maternal age.

Natural Cycle IVF

Natural cycle IVF offers IVF in the most natural and was the original method in which IVF was first conceived. Conventional IVF uses fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple oocytes. In natural cycle IVF, the naturally selected follicle is monitored and an egg retrieval is performed just prior to ovulation. It is common knowledge that the naturally selected egg is of the highest quality and has the best chance of producing the healthiest baby.

Women who choose natural cycle IVF believe that this approach most closely mimics natural conception. This method of conception is most appropriate in women who are less likely to produce multiple eggs despite high doses of fertility medications and those wishing to limit their exposure to drugs in their life.

Advantages of Natural Cycle IVF

  1. Eliminates the biggest side effects and complications of fertility medications especially Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
  2. Multiple gestations are prevented or reduced to their natural conception rate of 1%
  3. These drug free procedures reduce the medication costs of conventional IVF by about $3000. It also eliminates daily hormone injections
  4. Egg retrieval is a very short procedure and can be done with or without full anesthesia sedation.
  5. Monitoring only requires a few ultrasound visits and cycles without adequate egg development can be cancelled with minimal cost to patient
  6. It works well for patients with advanced maternal age, prior low stimulation in a previous IVF cycle or those with high FSH or low AMH levels


  1. With usually only one egg retrieved, this may not develop into an embryo and no transfer would occur
  2. There are not multiple embryos for freezing in subsequent cycles.

Minimal Stimulation IVF

Minimal stimulation IVF is a viable option to conventional IVF for many couples. In conventional IVF multiple injectable medications are used to hyperstimulate the ovaries to allow the development of large numbers of eggs. (6-20). In natural cycle IVF few if any medications are used resulting in one or two eggs to develop. Minimal stimulation IVF uses primarily oral medications and a few injections with the goal of attaining 2-6 eggs.

One of the first publications on minimal stimulation IVF was published by Dr. Branigan in March of 2000 in Fertility and Sterility (Minimal Stimulation IVF using clomiphene citrate and oral contraceptive pill pretreatment for LH suppression).

Minimal stimulation IVF uses oral contraceptive pills to synchronize the cycle, the oral medication either clomid or letrozole beginning on day 3 of the patients cycle, when the follicles are of sufficient size a maturation triggering injection (usually hCG) is used to time oocyte retrieval. An IVF retrieval is performed and subsequent embryo transfer performed after appropriate embryo development.

Patients who choose this method of IVF are those who prefer a more natural approach to IVF, want to minimize the use of chemicals and drugs in their lifestyle and reduce the side-effects and health risks associated with conventional IVF. They also benefit from reduced drug costs ($3000-$4000) over conventional IVF, risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and the stress of large numbers of frozen embryos in storage if successful with initial IVF procedure.

Bellingham IVF has a long and successful history of using minimal stimulation IVF. If this is an attractive alternative to conventional IVF for you, please come in for a consultation visit to discuss if this is an option for you