What is IVM - In Vitro Maturation of Oocytes

What is IVM – In Vitro Maturation of Oocytes

In vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes is a relatively new technology that has been developed to help couples struggling with infertility. This innovative approach to assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves maturing eggs outside of the body before fertilization, unlike traditional IVF (in vitro fertilization), which involves collecting mature eggs and fertilizing them in a laboratory. We will explore what IVM is, how it works, who may be a good candidate for IVM, its potential risks and complications, and its benefits.

What is IVM?

In vitro maturation is a fertility treatment that involves collecting immature eggs from the ovaries and allowing them to mature outside the body in a laboratory setting. During traditional IVF, mature eggs are collected after hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, while in IVM Treatments, immature eggs are collected without the use of hormones. The immature eggs are then matured in the laboratory for 1-2 days until they reach the desired stage of development. Once matured, the eggs are fertilized and then transferred back to the uterus.

IVM was initially developed to avoid the potential risks and side effects associated with hormonal stimulation during traditional IVF. The use of hormones can lead to a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which can be life-threatening in severe cases. Additionally, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are at an increased risk of developing OHSS, making IVM a safer and more effective option for these individuals.

Benefits of IVM

There are several benefits of IVM treatments that make it a desirable option for some couples struggling with infertility. These benefits include:

  1. Lower risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS): As mentioned earlier, IVM does not involve the use of hormones, which significantly reduces the risk of OHSS, a potentially life-threatening condition.
  2. Reduced costs: IVM is generally less expensive than traditional IVF, as it does not require the use of expensive hormonal stimulation drugs.
  3. More natural approach: IVM is a more natural approach to infertility treatment, as it allows the woman’s body to dictate the maturation of eggs instead of using hormonal manipulation.
  4. No need for repeated visits to the clinic: Unlike traditional IVF, which requires frequent visits to the clinic for monitoring and hormone injections, IVM only requires one or two visits to the clinic for egg retrieval and embryo transfer.
  5. Higher success rates for certain patients: For patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), IVM may have higher success rates than traditional IVF due to the reduced risk of OHSS and the potential for more viable eggs.

Overall, IVM is a safe and effective treatment option for certain patients struggling with infertility. However, it is important to consult with a fertility specialist to determine if IVM treatment is the best course of treatment for each individual case.

How does IVM work?

Hormone suppression: The woman’s natural hormones are suppressed to prevent premature ovulation.

Egg retrieval: Immature eggs are collected from the ovaries using a needle under ultrasound guidance.

Egg maturation: The immature eggs are matured in a laboratory setting for 1-2 days until they reach the desired stage of development.

Fertilization: Once the eggs are mature, they are fertilized with sperm in the laboratory.

Embryo transfer: Once the fertilized eggs have developed into embryos, they are transferred to the woman’s uterus for implantation.

IVM can be performed as a standalone procedure or in combination with traditional IVF. When performed in combination with traditional IVF, the mature eggs collected during hormonal stimulation are combined with the matured eggs collected during IVM, resulting in a higher number of viable embryos.

Who is a good candidate for IVM?

  • Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), as they often have multiple immature follicles that can be retrieved for maturation in the laboratory.
  • Women who are at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) or who have had a previous episode of OHSS during traditional IVF treatment.
  • Women who are unable or unwilling to undergo traditional IVF treatment, which involves hormonal stimulation.
  • Women who have a low ovarian reserve and are unable to produce enough mature eggs for traditional IVF treatment.
  • Women who need to undergo chemotherapy or other treatments that may affect their fertility, as IVM allows for the retrieval and maturation of eggs without the need for hormonal stimulation.

Advantages of IVM over traditional IVF

In vitro maturation (IVM) is a relatively new assisted reproductive technology that has some advantages over traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) in certain cases. Here are some advantages of IVM over traditional IVF:

  1. Reduced need for ovarian stimulation: In traditional IVF, women undergo hormonal stimulation to produce multiple mature eggs for retrieval. This can be a lengthy and costly process and may have some risks and side effects. In IVM, however, eggs are retrieved from immature follicles without the need for hormonal stimulation or only minimal stimulation, reducing the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
  2. Shorter treatment time: As IVM does not require a prolonged period of ovarian stimulation, the entire treatment process is shorter than traditional IVF, which may involve several weeks of hormonal stimulation before egg retrieval.
  3. Lower cost: IVM may be less expensive than traditional IVF, as it requires less medication and monitoring.
  4. Lower risk of multiple pregnancies: With traditional IVF, multiple embryos are often transferred to increase the chance of a successful pregnancy, which can result in a higher risk of multiple pregnancies. With IVM, fewer embryos are typically transferred, reducing the risk of multiple pregnancies.
  5. Suitable for some women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): Women with PCOS may be good candidates for IVM as they often have multiple immature follicles, which can be retrieved for maturation in the laboratory.
  6. 6. Can be combined with other treatments: IVM treatment can be combined with other treatments, such as pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) or egg freezing, to improve the chances of a successful pregnancy or preserve fertility. However, it’s worth noting that IVM may not be suitable for all women and couples seeking fertility treatment. As with any medical treatment, the best option will depend on individual circumstances and factors.


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