Tandem IVF cycle uses both patient's eggs as well as donor eggs. Rest of the things in a tandem IVF cycle is similar to a conventional IVF cycle. Many women produce low-quality eggs, which may or may not fertilize. For such women, this fertility treatment is a great option as it allows them to use their own eggs if possible. If this is not possible, or if the possibility of achieving pregnancy using your own eggs is low, they can use donor eggs in the same treatment cycle.
What are the different steps involved in a tandem IVF cycle?
The different stages involved in a tandem IVF cycle are:
Step 1 - Administration of ovulation-induction drugs
You will be give ovulation-induction medication for a few days.
Step 2 - Collection of eggs
You will also be given another drug, about 35 hours before ovulation to regulate it. Next, the experts will collect your eggs.
Step 3 - Collection of sperm
Around the same time the eggs are collected, the male partner would be asked to provide sperm.
Step 4 - Fertilization of your eggs and donor's eggs
Your and donor's eggs will be fertilized in the laboratory using your partner's sperm.
Step 5 - Monitoring of the fertilized eggs
Fertilized eggs, now called embryos, will be monitored for a couple of days
Step 6 - You will be briefed about the quality of your embryos and donor's embryos
The experts will then brief you about the quality of your embryos and donor's embryos. Based on this information, you will be asked to make any of the following three decisions:
Use your embryos only
Use donor's embryos only
Use both your embryo and donor's embryo
Step 7 - Implantation of the embryos
Finally, the doctor will transfer the selected embryo(s) into your uterus
Who are the best candidates for tandem IVF cycle?
Tandem IVF treatment is appropriate for women who have a low ovarian response or who produce low-quality eggs and who want to give themselves the best possible chance of using their own eggs for pregnancy. As mentioned above, in a tandem IVF treatment the donor eggs are not the first choice; they are part of a backup plan and are used only when the possibility of achieving pregnancy using the patient's eggs is low or absent.
What are the advantages of tandem IVF cycle?
The biggest advantage of tandem IVF treatment for women with low-quality eggs or a low ovarian response is that it gives them the best chance of becoming pregnant in a single cycle without completely ruling out the use of their own eggs for pregnancy.
In a conventional IVF cycle, donor eggs are not used. Women with low-quality eggs or a low ovarian response are less likely to become pregnant using conventional IVF treatment. In all probability, such women would need to undergo multiple IVF cycles before they are able to conceive. The costs, and emotional stress, increases with each additional cycle. On the other hand, embryo donation although reduces the need of multiple cycles, it takes away the option of using your own eggs completely. Simply put, a tandem IVF cycle combines conventional IVF treatement with embryo donation.
The second advantage is the overall treatment cost. Although a tandem IVF cycle is costlier than a conventional IVF cycle, in the long run, the former proves to be more cost effective. With a tandem IVF treatment, women with certain fertility problems can become pregnant in a single cycle, something which is not likely to happen with the conventional IVF treatment.