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Some women who undergo standard IVF treatment may develop the complication of OHSS, or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. This is a reason a lot of women refuse to go through a second IVF treatment cycle. The one way to avoid this is to opt for natural cycle in vitro fertilization – an IVF method in which no ovarian stimulation is performed and no fertility drugs are used.

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How Did Natural Fertilization Evolve?

Natural fertilization was first performed about twenty-five years ago. In the early years of IVF, when technology had not advanced this far, doctors had to completely rely on the natural timing of cycles to retrieve the eggs.

This meant, that doctors would use laparoscopy to retrieve the eggs – often at ungodly hours of the night, using general anesthesia. There were no medications that could prevent spontaneous ovulation of premature eggs, and therefore the success rates of these cycles were very poor.

So much so that eventually doctors moved away from it completely. Medications were introduced to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs simultaneously. While the results and success rates improved immensely, these medications came at a cost – that of the risk of OHSS.
In order to reduce the risk of OHSS, we are now also able to offer the simpler and kinder and less expensive option of natrual cycle IVF. While it seems we have come full circle, the reality is that today we have much better control of the natural cycle, so that we no longer need to do midnight egg retrievals !

How is Traditional IVF Different from Natural Fertilization?

Natural fertilization is different because it does not rely on the use of fertility drugs.  Of course, the price you pay is that the chances of a pregnancy with only a single embryo do go down, as compared to standard IVF treatment, where we have mutliple embryos to work with.

Learn More about  IVF Pregnancy vs Natural Pregnancy

In some European countries, there is a strict policy of single embryo transfer, this policy has not gained widespread acceptance.


Natural fertilization utilizes the single mature egg released in a woman's natural cycle; therefore, it avoids the use of fertility drugs that may lead to OHSS.

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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