IVF in a natural cycle

What is natural cycle IVF (IVF-EC)? This method is also called “natural protocol”. Its characteristic feature is that there is no need for hormonal stimulation.

One naturally matured egg receiving scheme is used in patients with categorical contraindications to stimulation. The method is used in cases when previous IVF attempts didn’t yield enough mature oocytes or they were of poor quality.

The natural protocol is used in the following cases:

  • if a woman refuses to undergo stimulation;
  • if the patient is diagnosed with PCOS;
  • If there is a high risk of developing OAI (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome);
  • in cases of cancer before chemotherapy;
  • in the presence of contraindications to hormonal stimulation.

Thanks to this method it is possible to avoid side effects arising from the introduction of additional doses of hormones. Also, the natural protocol increases the likelihood of obtaining a single egg of high quality, chosen by the body itself. Below is a detailed description of how IVF takes place in a natural cycle, what advantages and disadvantages this reproductive technique has.


It is important for every patient to have an idea of how IVF is done in a natural cycle. With this approach, the main processes of follicle growth and oocyte maturation should take place in a woman’s body. Ultrasound monitoring, which clarifies the peculiarities of follicle growth, is mandatory. Sometimes it is necessary to measure some hormonal parameters, for which venous blood is taken.  To obtain a mature oocyte a woman is intramuscularly injected with chorionic gonadotropin (36 hours before the procedure) before the oocyte is taken.

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If IVF is performed in a natural cycle without stimulation, a transvaginal puncture of the ovary is performed to retrieve the oocyte. This surgical procedure may be done under a short period of intravenous anesthesia or without anesthesia (by prior arrangement with the patient).

On the day when ovulation is expected to occur, the doctor will take an oocyte from the woman to be fertilized in vitro. The biomaterial from the partner (in some cases, a donor) is used for this purpose. The obtained embryo reaches the blastocyst stage within five days and then is implanted into the uterine cavity of the woman. The conditions of this process are similar to those of traditional IVF.


Immediately before the procedure we provide a consultation, gynecological examination, ultrasound examination, carried out at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Then our clinic specialists perform:

  • Folliculometry (ultrasound monitoring that monitors follicle growth);
  • Transvaginal puncture of follicle (performed without anesthesia or under a short anesthetic).

After these manipulations the patient gets to a comfortable room where she remains for two hours. At the next stage the doctor places the embryo inside the uterus, monitors its condition until pregnancy occurs.