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How Fertility Medications Are Used in IVF Treatment

By Vicken Sahakian, M.D. on November 30, 2016

A woman taking fertility drugsOur fertility specialists are proud to have helped countless people in the greater Los Angeles area start the families of their dreams. By using the latest technology and techniques available, we help couples and individuals overcome the challenges of infertility and experience the rewards of parenting.

In many cases, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is the ideal fertility treatment. In order to ensure optimal results, fertility medications will need to be used. Let's consider why fertility drugs are so important to IVF and what patients might experience while they take these medications.

The Role of Fertility Medications in IVF

During the IVF, it's not uncommon for fertility doctors to prescribe various fertility medications to their female patients as part of the treatment process. These fertility drugs are meant to trigger the release of various hormones and to regulate ovulation. By doing this, women are in essence made more fertile during the procedure, which improves the chances of pregnancy.

These fertility drugs optimize the treatment process by allowing fertility doctors to time each step of the procedure to meet the needs of their patient.

Types of Fertility Drugs

There are different kinds o fertility drugs that may be prescribed. This includes the following common medications:

  • Clomid or Serophene (Clomiphene) – Clomiphene is a type of estrogen-blocking medication. It triggers the release of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and LH (luteinizing hormone), which signal your ovaries to produce eggs.

  • Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) – Additional FSH may be used in addition to clomiphene to help stimulate the production of eggs.

  • Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG) – This fertility drug is acombination of FSH and LH, and can also be used to supplement the effects of clomiphene.

  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) – This fertility drug is used in order to trigger a woman's ovaries to release viable eggs.

The exact medications and types of drugs requires for your treatment will be determined during the consultation process. Keep in mind that some of these medications can be taken orally while others will be administered through injections.

Common Side Effects from Fertility Drugs

The side effects of most fertility drugs tend to be rather mild and temporary. Typically the side effects are milder in oral medications (Clomid) than injections (gonadotropins).

Common side effects for Clomid include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Tender breasts
  • Weight gain
  • Abnormal menstrual spotting/bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Changes in mood

Potential side effects of gonadotropins include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Abnormal menstrual spotting/bleeding
  • Soreness around the injection site

A full list of side effects and tips for managing these side effects will be provided to patients during the consultation process.

Timing Is Everything

Whatever drugs a patient requires, the effectiveness of these medications will require precise timing. Patients should take their fertility drugs as directed by their fertility specialist. In addition, all fertility visits must be attended on schedule to ensure optimal results. Improper dosage or improper administration of a fertility drug may mean a failed IVF cycle or reduced potential for successful pregnancy.

Discussing IVF in Greater Detail

Fertility medications are just one part of the IVF process. There are various lifestyle changes that patients can consider to boost their fertility, and other treatments that can serve as supplement to an IVF procedure. During your visit to the practice, we can cover all of these issues and help you make an ideal treatment choice given your situation.

Learn More About Advanced Fertility Treatments

If you would like more information about fertility treatments and how they can help you start the family you have always wanted, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. We will work closely with you and discuss all options in full so you can make empowered and informed decisions.

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