Having IVF for the first time can be daunting and even confusing as there’s many steps in the process. Medication is one of the most important factors of the IVF process. Questions you may ask are, what are the different medications? what are the medications doing to my body? How do you take the medication? This article will help explain the different IVF medications.
The purpose of IVF medications
There are different medications that can be used in IVF. The simple explanation is all the medications help your body produce and mature eggs and help with the process of IVF and to increase your chances of conceiving through IVF.
What are the different types of medications IVF4family use?
Synarel is used in the down-regulation phase of IVF. It’s a nasal spray used to help decrease the amount of FSH and LH hormones that your body produces. The purpose of taking Synarel is to help control the release of eggs from your ovaries.
FSH injections (Gonal-f, Puregon and Menopur)
FSH injections act directly on the ovaries to stimulate the growth of more than one follicle/egg. Gonal-F, Puregon and Pergoveris are made from Chinese hamster ovary cell lines and Menopur (which has LH activity) is made from urine of menopausal and pregnant women which has been highly purified. Pergoveris has LH activity and is used in women who are deficient in LH (pituitary disease, low body weight).
FSH are very fine needle injections (using a pen-device) that are to be taken the same time daily. The injections are easy to use and the IVF4family nurses will explain and show you how to use them.
Metformin is a tablet used to improve egg quality and the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation is often reduced. Because the use of metformin is associated with better quality eggs it may result in a significant increase in the number of mature eggs retrieved, number of fertilised eggs and number of embryos produced. Because the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation is reduced the chance of cycle cancellation is also reduced.
Antagonist injections (Cetrotide or Orgalutran)
These medications prevent the release or increase of a natural hormone called luteinising hormone (LH), which causes ovulation. Ovulation before the egg is matured is not ideal as only matured eggs can get fertilised.
hCG (Pregnyl) or Ovidrel Injection
The hCG injection is often called a ‘trigger’ injection as it triggers the final maturation of the eggs prior to ovulation and egg collection. It also stimulates production of the hormone progesterone from the ovaries. Before the body naturally releases the eggs from the follicles, a nurse will collect the eggs. The injection is usually given 36-38 hours prior to the egg collection.
Progesterone (Crinone, Endometrin and Utrogestan or Pregnyl 1500iu)
On the collection day, you’ll use one of the progesterone pessaries or cream which contain progesterone. The progesterone that helps maintain the lining of the uterus which helps with implantation of the embryo.
If you’re having a frozen embryo transfer, ethinyloestradiol may be used to thicken the endometrium (lining of the womb) in preparation for embryo transfer. It is a synthetic form of oestrogen, which made by compounding pharmacists and is taken in a capsule form.
Everyone experiences different side effects from the medication. Generally speaking some side effects are, nausea, bloating and headaches.
It’s important to understand all these medications help with the IVF process and increase your chances of conceiving a baby. Once you start your IVF journey, the IVF4family specialist will help with every step of the journey, including any questions you may have about IVF medications.