The Slower, Gentler Version of IVF – Facts So Romantic

Microscope image showing selection of an embryo for IVFScience Photo Library – ZEPHYR via Getty Images

For women who have trouble conceiving, being told they’ll need assistance is often accompanied with a sense of dread: what they hoped would be a natural, quick, and inexpensive process (what’s cheaper than natural conception?) can change into a costly, drawn-out, and emotionally painful journey.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) has of course emerged as a common and effective option for couples having fertility problems, but it can cause problems. For example, younger women undergoing IVF are in danger of Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), where their ovaries get swollen and painful due to the hormones they take during the process, causing nausea, sickness, and potentially hospitalization and even death.

But a relatively new kind of IVF aims to make the process easier on patients and prevent problems like OHSS. In vitro maturation (IVM) is the slower, gentler version of IVF. In traditional IVF, a woman takes medications that “hyperstimulate” her ovaries to produce a fleet of mature eggs, which are then harvested, fertilized in a dish, and implanted back in the woman’s uterus. The process is intense and obtrusive: The patient is injected with powerful hormones and…

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