Between from five and ten percent of women of childbearing age are affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), causing these women to have much more difficulty with getting pregnant without medical help. The technology of the past few decades has greatly helped these women and doctors hope a newer technique will prove to be even more successful.
PCOS causes women to have difficulty ovulating and irregular menstrual cycles. Some women have found in vitro fertilization (IVF) to be helpful, while others have not. After the two week period of taking hormones that stimulate multiple eggs to mature at once, the eggs are harvested to be combined with sperm. Women with PCOS, however, frequently end up producing too many eggs, some of which are immature and are not viable when combined with sperm. The two weeks of hormone stimulation can also cause painful and occasionally dangerous hyperstimulation.
As an alternative, doctors are hoping in vitro maturation (IVM) could be the answer. This technique requires only three days of hormone stimulation and then the eggs are harvested in their undeveloped state, to them be stimulated to mature outside the body before being combined with sperm.
Doctors in Asia, Europe and Canada are already frequently performing IVM but as of now it is only being performed at a few clinics in the US. When it does become more widespread, patients have the benefit of the procedure costly almost half that of IVF.
If you have PCOS, have had difficulty conceiving, are interested in IVM or have any other concerns about your fertility, talk to your doctor today.