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Short or Long IVF Protocol: Which is Better?

Short or Long IVF Protocol: Which is Better?

| 26 Jul 2023 | 142807 Views |

Introduction

Every couple’s journey to parenthood is unique. For some, the road may be straight and smooth, while for others, it might involve navigating through some complex medical procedures like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). As one of the leading IVF and fertility clinics in DelhiNoidaGurgaon and Gwalior, India IVF Fertility is committed to guiding you through your fertility journey. In this blog post, we delve into the specifics of short and long IVF protocols, helping you understand which could be a better choice for your unique situation.

What is IVF?

IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, is a type of assisted reproductive technology that involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside the body. The process includes monitoring and stimulating a woman’s ovulatory process, extracting an ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman’s ovaries, and letting sperm fertilize them in a liquid medium in a laboratory. The fertilized egg (embryo) undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days and is then transferred to the same or another woman’s uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.

Types of IVF Protocols:

In an IVF cycle, a protocol refers to the specific plan for ovarian stimulation. Essentially, it outlines the medications you’ll take and when you’ll take them to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. There are several types of IVF protocols, but the two most common ones are the short and long protocols. We’ll explore these protocols in detail in the following sections.

What is a Short IVF Protocol?

A short IVF protocol, also known as the antagonist protocol, typically takes about two weeks to complete. It’s named ‘short’ because it involves fewer days of hormone injections compared to the long protocol.

Short IVF Protocol Procedure Step by Step:

  • Initial Consultation: Like every fertility journey, a short IVF protocol begins with an initial consultation. At India IVF Fertility, our fertility experts will thoroughly evaluate your medical history, conduct a physical examination, and may recommend a few diagnostic tests to understand your specific condition better.
  • Ovarian Stimulation: Once the initial evaluation is complete, you will be administered hormone injections for about 10-12 days to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs. The development of the follicles (which contain the eggs) is closely monitored through ultrasound scans.
  • Trigger Shot: Once the follicles reach the appropriate size, a “trigger shot” is administered. This triggers the final maturation of the eggs, getting them ready for retrieval.
  • Egg Retrieval: Approximately 36 hours after the trigger shot, the eggs are retrieved in a minor surgical procedure. The procedure typically takes about 20-30 minutes, and you’ll be under mild sedation.
  • Fertilization & Embryo Culture: The retrieved eggs are then fertilized with sperm in a lab. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are cultured for a few days until they reach the appropriate stage for transfer.
  • Embryo Transfer: Finally, one or more embryos are transferred into your uterus. Any high-quality embryos that aren’t transferred can be frozen for future use.

What is the Short IVF protocol success rate in India?

At India IVF Fertility, we pride ourselves on our high success rates across our clinics in Delhi, Noida, and Gurgaon. While the success of a short IVF protocol can vary based on individual circumstances such as age, the cause of infertility, and egg quality, generally, the short protocol has been found to offer success rates comparable to other IVF protocols.

What is the Long IVF Protocol?

The long IVF protocol, also known as the agonist protocol, is the traditional IVF protocol that’s been in use since the early days of IVF. The entire process typically takes about 4-6 weeks, longer than the short protocol, hence the name.

Long IVF Protocol Procedure Step by Step:

Initial Consultation: The first step is similar to the short IVF protocol. At India IVF Fertility, we believe in thorough and personalized consultations to plan the best course of action for your unique fertility journey.

Down-Regulation: In the long IVF protocol, the first step is down-regulation. Here, you’ll take medications to suppress your natural menstrual cycle, which usually lasts about two weeks. This gives your fertility specialist more control over the timing of egg retrieval.

Ovarian Stimulation: Following down-regulation, you will start taking hormone injections for about 10-12 days to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs. The development of these eggs is closely monitored with regular ultrasound scans.

Trigger Shot: A “trigger shot” is administered to induce final egg maturation once the follicles reach the appropriate size.

Egg Retrieval: The eggs are then retrieved under mild sedation through a minor surgical procedure.

Fertilization & Embryo Culture: Post retrieval, the eggs are fertilized with sperm in the lab, and the resulting embryos are cultured until they’re ready for transfer.

Embryo Transfer: One or more embryos are transferred into your uterus. Any high-quality embryos that aren’t transferred can be frozen for future use.

Long IVF Protocol Success Rate in India:

India IVF Fertility prides itself on maintaining high success rates across our clinics. While success rates can vary due to individual factors, the long IVF protocol generally boasts a high success rate, making it a popular choice for many couples.

Short Vs Long IVF Protocol:

The debate between the short and long IVF protocol isn’t about one being superior to the other. Instead, it’s about understanding which protocol is better suited to your unique situation. Both protocols have their advantages and considerations:

  • Timeframe: As the names suggest, the short protocol is quicker to complete than the long protocol.
  • Hormonal Impact: The long protocol involves an initial down-regulation phase which can cause menopause-like symptoms in some women. On the other hand, the short protocol generally has a lesser hormonal impact.
  • Number of Eggs: Long protocol often results in a higher number of eggs retrieved compared to the short protocol.
  • Quality of Eggs: Some research suggests the short protocol may result in better egg quality, particularly in women with a lower ovarian reserve.
  • Cost: The cost of the protocols can vary, with the long protocol typically being more expensive due to the longer duration and the use of more medications.

Best IVF Protocol for Poor Egg Quality:

Determining the best IVF protocol for poor egg quality is a complex decision that should be made after thorough consultation with a fertility specialist. However, some studies suggest that a short protocol may be beneficial for women with poor ovarian response due to a lesser hormonal impact.

Alternative IVF Protocols: Natural Cycle IVF

Natural Cycle IVF is an alternative IVF protocol that doesn’t involve any ovarian stimulation. Instead, it focuses on the single egg that the body naturally produces each month. This protocol may be suitable for women who are unable or prefer not to use fertility drugs. However, it often has a lower success rate compared to stimulated IVF cycles.

The Shortest IVF Cycle: Mini-IVF (Minimal Stimulation IVF)

Mini-IVF, also known as Minimal Stimulation IVF, involves using lower doses of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. This protocol is typically quicker and less expensive than traditional IVF protocols, making it a popular choice for many couples.

Conclusion

Choosing the right IVF protocol can seem like an overwhelming decision, but remember, you’re not alone. At India IVF Fertility, we’re here to guide you every step of the way, helping you make the best choice for your unique fertility journey. Contact our clinics in Delhi, Noida, or Gurgaon today to get started on your path to parenthood.

Footnotes

FAQs

The short IVF protocol typically takes about two weeks to complete and doesn't involve down-regulation. On the other hand, the long IVF protocol takes about 4-6 weeks and involves a down-regulation phase.

Both the short and long IVF protocols have similar success rates. However, the best protocol for you depends on your individual circumstances, including your age, the cause of infertility, and your ovarian reserve.

Some research suggests that a short IVF protocol may result in better egg quality, particularly in women with a lower ovarian reserve. However, the best protocol for you should be determined in consultation with a fertility specialist.

Natural Cycle IVF is an IVF protocol that doesn't involve any ovarian stimulation. Instead, it focuses on the single egg that the body naturally produces each month.

Mini-IVF, also known as Minimal Stimulation IVF, involves using lower doses of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries. This protocol is typically quicker and less expensive than traditional IVF protocols.

About The Author
India IVF Clinic

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