Outcomes from a university-based low-cost in vitro fertilization program providing access to care for a low-resource socioculturally diverse urban community

Use of mild stimulation protocols, simplified monitoring, and minimized laboratory handling procedures provided access to in vitro fertilization for a low resource socioculturally diverse infertile population.

Volume 108, Issue 4, Pages 642–649.e4


Christopher N. Herndon, M.D., Yanett Anaya, M.D., Martha Noel, M.D., Hakan Cakmak, M.D., Marcelle I. Cedars, M.D.



To report on outcomes from a university-based low-cost and low-complexity IVF program using mild stimulation approaches and simplified protocols to provide basic access to ART to a socioculturally diverse low-income urban population.


Retrospective cohort study.


Academic infertility center.


Sixty-five infertile couples were enrolled from a county hospital serving a low-resource largely immigrant population.


Patients were nonrandomly allocated to one of four mild stimulation protocols: clomiphene/letrozole alone, two clomiphene/letrozole–based protocols involving sequential or flare addition of low-dose gonadotropins, and low-dose gonadotropins alone. Clinical fellows managed all aspects of cycle preparation, monitoring, oocyte retrieval, and embryo transfer under an attending preceptor. Retrieval was undertaken without administration of deep anesthesia, and laboratory interventions were minimized. All embryo transfers were performed at the cleavage stage.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

Sociomedical demographics, treatment response, and pregnancy outcomes were recorded.


From August 2010 to June 2016, 65 patients initiated 161 stimulation IVF cycles, which resulted in 107 retrievals, 91 fresh embryo transfers, and 40 frozen embryo transfer cycles. The mean age of patients was 33.3 years, and mean reported duration of infertility was 5.3 years; 33.5% (54/161) of cycles were cancelled before oocyte retrieval, with 13% due to premature ovulation. Overall, cumulative live birth rates per retrieval including subsequent use of frozen embryos was 29.0%; 44.6% (29/65) of patients enrolled in the program achieved pregnancy.


Use of mild stimulation protocols, simplified monitoring, and minimized laboratory handling procedures enabled access to care in a low-resource socioculturally diverse infertile population.

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