IVF produces first baby


A local fertility practice has produced the areas first pregnancies using an IVF approach requiring no fertility drugs.

Arlington-based Dominion Fertility, located near Del Ray, recently launched its Natural Cycle IVF program, an innovative form of in vitro fertilization based on a womans natural cycle and does not require fertility drugs, said the centers director and founder, Dr. Michael DiMattina.

Created and implemented in an effort to address and decrease the emotional, physical and financial stresses associated with traditional IVF, Natural Cycle has proven to be a safe and effective alternative, DiMattina said. DiMattina said Dominion currently has several patients with ongoing pregnancies resulting from NCIVF.

Without using fertility drugs, the procedure costs $4000 per treatment compared with conventional IVF which costs between $12,000-$20,000 per cycle.  At roughly 25% the cost of traditional IVF, it is hoped that Natural Cycle will prove to be a more accessible option to patients experiencing infertility that have insufficient insurance coverage, or none at all, DiMattina said.

Natural Cycle IVF produced the first IVF baby 29 years ago, but poor success rates caused doctors to begin using fertility drugs to produce multiple eggs and multiple embryos which resulted in more pregnancies, he added.  Thanks to years of research and new technologies, IVF pregnancy rates have greatly improved, DiMattina said. I saw that many of our patients were becoming pregnant with only one embryo, so I decided the time was right to offer Natural Cycle IVF.

A 32-year-old patient of his, who had been unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy for two years, became pregnant with her first embryo transfer.

In Natural Cycle IVF, a womans body self selects the best egg for that cycle, he said.  Once the egg is mature, it is retrieved in a in-office procedure avoiding any hospitalization and the patient is able to work that same day.  The egg is then fertilized using modern in vitro fertilization laboratory techniques. Three days later, a single embryo is replaced back into the infertile womans uterus, again in a simple in-office procedure.  Two weeks later a pregnancy test is obtained.

With conventional IVF, the patients ovaries are stimulated with multiple injections of expensive fertility drugs producing several eggs and embryos.  Despite the additional cost, the stress, and the risk of multiple pregnancies, many women benefit from conventional IVF because of age or other specific infertility conditions, DiMattina said. 

Natural Cycle IVF is extensively performed in Europe and Dr. DiMattina traveled to London in 2006 to participate in the First World Congress on Natural Cycle IVF.  He was the only physician from the DC area to attend this conference and one of 300 physicians from 55 different countries.  Upon his return he created Dominion Fertilitys Natural Cycle IVF program.  When you think about it, we are gong Back to the Future, one egg, one embryo and one baby.  This is better for our patients, says Dr. DiMattina

Dominion Fertility was founded in 1987 by DiMattina.  He and his co director, Dr. John David Gordon, are both subspecialty certified Reproductive Endocrinologists who specialize in all areas of reproductive medicine.  Both teach at local medical universities, author medical publications, and have been ranked by an independent survey as one of the best fertility clinics in the nation. 

We have produced thousands of babies using a variety of techniques, DiMattina said.