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What's The Difference Between IVF and IVM?

You've heard about IVF, but could IVM be the right choice for you?

What's The Difference Between IVF and IVM?

Fertility can be a confusing and emotional issue for many couples trying to start a family, especially if they’re having trouble conceiving. While going through the decision process, it’s especially important to understand all the different options available. Everyone immediately thinks of IVF (in vitro fertilization), which is a familiar term when it comes to fertility options. And it works well, with millions of babies born. But it’s also expensive, invasive and not right for everyone. But did you know about IVM (in vitro maturation)?

The procedure, which has seen strong result globally and has gained ground in the US, is a good choice for many women who want to take a more natural approach to treating infertility, or who medically can’t handle the intense hormone injections required for IVF.

So which one is right for you? Here are a few of the key differences between the two methods to help as you start your research.

IVF (in vitro fertilization)

How It Works: IVF artificially stimulates a women’s ovulatory process, using hormonal injections to create mature follicles and eggs. Once matured, the eggs are then harvested and fertilized in a petri dish in the lab. These embryos are then implanted back into the body to impregnate the woman.

Why It’s Popular: IVF has good success rates and a proven history. It has been around since 1977 with more than 5 million babies born worldwide.

Why It’s Not: IVF can be pricey, and is not always fully covered by insurance. It can also wreak havoc on your body, requiring a lot of hormone injections, blood tests, and ultrasounds.

Medication Needed: An average of 2-3 injections per day, for a total of 8-12 days.

Doctor Visits Required:

6-10 Ultrasounds

6-10 Blood Tests

Average Costs: $11,400-$15,400 ($8,900 fee plus $2,500-$6,500 medication costs)

Average Success Rates: Success is age-based but can be as high as 46% (according to 2011 SART Data).

IVM (in vitro maturation)

How It Works: Eggs are retrieved from the women’s body before they mature, and are instead matured in a lab setting. Once matured outside the body, they are fertilized then implanted.

Why It’s Popular: Because eggs are not matured inside the body, IVM requires little to no hormone injections. This makes it especially ideal for women who lack ovulation, or have a hormone-sensitive illness such as PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). As a result, it also requires fewer doctor visits, and has a lower price point overall.

Why It’s Not: IVM is a newer and more complex procedure, so there are fewer doctors in the U.S. today who have the extensive training required to do it successfully. Approximately 5,000 babies have been born worldwide via IVM.

Medication Needed: Little to none.

Doctor Visits Required:

4 Ultrasounds

0-2 Blood Tests

Average Costs: $6,600-7,500 ($6,500 fee plus $100-$1,000 medication costs)

Average Success Rates: 35-40% (higher success rates in women under 35)

When going through the decision process, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Ultimately, the choice of which method is right for you should be made together with your doctor. I recommend both IVF and IVM as solutions to infertility, and there are still other options to consider as well, such as IUI (intrauterine insemination), minimal stimulation IVF, natural cycle IVF, egg freezing, and egg and sperm donors. Do your research, talk to your doctor, and find the solution that’s best for your needs.

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In This Article

    Ara Katz/Seed

    We spoke to Ara Katz, co-founder and co-CEO of Seed, who shared her journey to (and through) motherhood—and gave us the lowdown on how probiotics can benefit mamas and children alike.

    Chances are, you're aware that probiotics can help us digest the food we eat, keep inflammation at bay, synthesize essential vitamins and more. But here's the thing: When it comes to probiotics, there's a lot of misinformation… and because of that, it's hard to know what's actually a probiotic and which is the right one for you.

    That's why we chatted with Ara Katz, who is a mama to son Pax and the co-founder of Seed, a company disrupting the probiotics industry. The entrepreneur told us about her motherhood journey, what led her to start her company and what she wants other parents to know about probiotics.

    Q. What was life like for you before you became a mama?

    I was bi-coastal after co-founding a mobile tech company in New York City with a partner in LA. My life was, for as long as I can remember, consumed by creating and work. I was fairly nomadic, loved to travel, spent many hours reading and practicing yoga, being with friends [and] waking up at the crack of dawn. [I] was fairly sure I would never marry or have children. And then something shifted.

    Q. What were some pivotal moments that defined your journey to motherhood?

    Ha, that makes it sound like motherhood is a destination when at this very moment, more than ever, it evolves daily. I lost my mom when I was 17 and spent most of my life believing I didn't want to be a mother. I had a lot of wiring about its limitations and constraints—I'm sure relics of grief and the fear of loss.

    My journey started with a physiological wanting to be pregnant and have a baby. There was a kind of visceral sense that my body wanted to know what that was like and a strange curiosity that, at least for that period of time, usurped my ambivalence about motherhood.

    Then I had a miscarriage—a beautiful inflection point in my story. I resigned from my company, chose a coast, committed to be more committed to my (then) boyfriend, now husband, and tried again. I got pregnant shortly after that and found pregnancy to be a profound journey within, a reshaping of my life and the tiniest glimpse of how motherhood would unfold.

    In the 55 months since giving birth (and I like to use months because I have learned in the moments that I am most frustrated as a mom that he has only been on this planet for less than 14 fiscal quarters), I have realized and surrendered to a definition of motherhood that is a process. One of cultivating, creating, recreating, shapeshifting, learning, feeling, healing, hurting and experiencing the most potent form of presence I have ever experienced—and an aching, expansive love I didn't know possible—not just for my son, but for all living things.

    Q. How did motherhood change your approach to your career?

    Becoming a mother is certainly a persistent lens on all of my choices, but it was really my miscarriage that recalibrated my path. My pregnancy rekindled my love of biology and health and led me to my co-founder and the microbiome. My breastfeeding experience incepted our first product focus, and the newfound accountability for a human inspired our brand.

    Q. What inspired you to co-found Seed?

    I met my co-founder, Raja, during my pregnancy with Pax. [I] was immediately awestruck by his ability to both deeply understand science and to methodically break down a product, dietary question or piece of advice in a way that's educational (you actually learn something about your body), actionable (you understand what to do with the information) and foundational (you can build on that knowledge in the future to continue to make better choices).

    As we spent more time, our combined passion for microbes, their potential impact on both human health and the environment, and how to set up a child for a healthy life became increasingly clear. And through birth, seeding (the process by which we get our foundational microbes and the inspiration for the name of our company) Pax and my struggles with breastfeeding, my entrepreneurial spirit was lit to build something with Raja. His deep experience in translating science to product, and mine in consumer, community-building and translating through storytelling, culminated in a shared vision to set a new standard in health through bacteria.

    Q. Probiotics have been trending in recent years, but they're nothing new—can you talk a bit about the importance of probiotics?

    Interest in gut health and probiotics increases month by month. However, despite the quickly growing number of "probiotic" supplements, foods and beverages out there, there's still a lot of consumer confusion—particularly around what they are, how they work and why we should take them. Probiotics have been studied extensively across various life stages, body sites and for many benefits. Digestion is an obvious and immediate one (and the primary reason most people currently take probiotics). But other strains have also been studied for skin health, heart health and gut health (including gut immune function and gut barrier integrity). But this doesn't mean that any and all probiotics can do these things—this is the importance of 'strain specificity.' In other words, ensuring that the specific strains in your probiotic have been studied for the benefit you desire is critical.

    Seed Daily Synbiotic

    Seed

    Seed's Daily Synbiotic is a 24-strain probiotic + prebiotic formulated for whole-body benefits, including gut, skin and heart health.


    Q. How do probiotics play a role in your life?

    I mean, I take them, I develop them and I work with some of the leading scientists from around the world advancing the field—so they play a big role. As for my personal health, I take our Daily Synbiotic daily and my son also takes specific strains for gastrointestinal health and gut immune function. Beyond that, it's the re-orientation around my microbiome that guides many of my choices: how important fiber is, specific compounds like polyphenols found in berries, green tea and other foods, avoiding the use of NSAIDS like ibuprofen and antibiotics when not needed, exercise, sleep and time in nature [are] all aspects of our daily life that impact our microbiome and our health.

    Q. What are some misconceptions about probiotics that you would like to set straight?

    There's one main myth on from which all the other stem: that probiotics aren't considered a serious science. On the contrary, it's a field of inquiry that demands incredible rigor and extensive research. And when anything and everything from chocolate to ice cream to fermented food and kombucha to mattresses can call itself "probiotic" due to underregulation in the category, that grossly undermines the science and their potential.

    The term 'probiotic' has a globally-accepted scientific definition that was actually co-authored by our Chief Scientist, Dr. Gregor Reid ,for the United Nations/World Health Organization.

    At Seed, we work to reclaim the term for science, through the development of next-generation probiotics that include clinically validated strains and undergo the most rigorous safety, purity and efficacy testing procedures. Because why would you invite billions of unknown microbes into your body without asking "what's in here, is it the correct dosage that was studied, and has that strain in that amount been studied in human clinical trials to do something beneficial for my body"?

    Q. Can you tell us a little bit about what product you plan to launch next?

    We are developing a pipeline of consumer probiotics to target specific ecosystems of the body and life stages, including a synbiotic for children. Our next product will reflect a unique breakthrough in the field of pediatric probiotics, which we are excited to announce soon.

    This article was sponsored by Seed. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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