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Finally! After weeks of organization and much anticipation, I was finally able to perform our first Japanese Minimal Stimulation IVF egg retrieval at Hanabusa IVF. I believe this would be the first in the San Diego area. What is Japanese Minimal Stimulation IVF? I am going to save that for next time.

Let us continue. A little Valium for nerves. Local anesthesia. Japanese retrieval catheter (which are over 30% smaller than what is typically used in the United States). Using techniques that I have repeated and refined thousands of times at my old place of business and Voila! Success! Three eggs!

“It feels weird, like going to the dentist.”

“I feel no pain!”

“This is so interesting.”

“I can’t believe it! You got the same number of eggs as the other IVF center with so little medication!”

At our initial meeting, our patient was around Day 7 of her cycle, but she didn’t want to skip the cycle. She was at a significant risk of creating a lead dominant follicle. I did not want to “waste” pricey injectable stimulation medications if there was a strong possibility of only retrieving 1 egg so I prescribed oral Clomid only. Also, our patient had been diagnosed as diminished ovarian reserve (she is now in her late 30’s) and had only 3 eggs from her first cycle at another center (her second cycle was cancelled due to lack of response) so it was unlikely she was going to produce a large number of follicles anyway.

Afterwards, I checked on our patient in Recovery. She was smiling and comfortable. Her significant looked rather stunned. “It seems kind of silly that we didn’t try this before.” Her significant wasn’t present at our initial consultation so I had to explain that this wasn’t available before.

After our initial meeting, my patient had decided to be aggressive; we were going to grow the embryos outside her body for 5-7 days (as oppose to the typical 3 days) and see if they reach the Blastocyst stage. She didn’t want to potentially waste her time and money on freezing less predictable Day 3 embryos. If her embryos reached Blastocyst, we were also going to biopsy the embryos for genetic testing before freezing and banking the embryos. By banking, she will optimize her chances for a child and hedge for potential second child.

Finally, the women in San Diego who are struggling to conceive now have another option.