Deciding to pursue IVF can seem scary. Taking hormones, having multiple ultrasounds and blood draws, and needing to undergo different procedures can make IVF an intimidating process. Keeping track of which fertility medications you need, what the different doses are, and in what order they need to be taken can add to the stress. However, when you break it down, the different IVF medications can be pretty straightforward, and while every patient’s IVF treatment plan is different, usually they follow a similar structure.
What are the Different Injectable IVF Medications You Might Take?
Out of the many infertility treatments available, IVF offers the best results available for couples and singles struggling with infertility. It is also a great treatment for lesbian couples who may choose to use reciprocal IVF and for gay men looking to start a family. It has proven especially effective for women who are experiencing difficulties getting pregnant over the age of 35 and want to get pregnant fast and start building their family as soon as they’re ready.
Once a couple or individual has decided to pursue IVF, their fertility specialist doctor will work with them to develop an IVF plan that meets their needs, goals, and schedule. After initial examinations, your doctor will prescribe fertility medications to begin the process of hormonal stimulation. These medications may come in the form of fertility pills or fertility injections, and they are usually prescribed to a female patient to stimulate egg production and ovulation, but may also be prescribed to a male patient if increased sperm production is needed for the IVF procedure. A fertility doctor may choose to prescribe only one medication, or they may decide to combine several medications depending on the individual patient.
Typically, the hormonal stimulation stage of an IVF cycle begins with Gonadotropins. These medications are used for the first 7-12 days to stimulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. A hormone called FSH (or Follicle Stimulating Hormone) can be used on it’s own or may be combined with LH (Luteinizing Hormone). These medications come in the form of injections and the different brands include Gonal-F, Bravelle, or Follistim.
After the initial egg stimulation, a different injection is used to trigger ovulation so eggs can be collected and fertilized. One type is called hCG (or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) and different brands include Pregnyl, Novarel, and Ovidrel.
Another type of fertility medication called GnRH agonist, or Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone agonist, can be used to trigger ovulation. Interestingly, if it is used in another way, it can also prevent premature ovulation. This medication is called Lupron.
Finally, GnRH antagonists can also be prescribed to prevent premature ovulation. Some GnRH antagonists that are typically prescribed are Cetrotide and Ganirelix.
Many people understandably are hesitant to use fertility injections. Cindy Anderson, a Nurse Practitioner at Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, encourages doctors and nurses to help their patients learn how to administer their fertility medication in a hands-on instructive manner.
“We do individual teaching demonstrations with each patient when they come in… (and) also have many videos that will walk them step by step so when they are at home they can refer to the videos for further instructions. 99% of the time, patients are fine giving injections to themselves or having their partner/family/friend follow the instructions.”
What are the Best IVF Medications to Take?
Every single patient is going to have different results with different IVF medications.
According to Dr. Marcus Rosencrantz, Founder of Reproductive Health and Wellness Center, his experience has led him to find that his “patients (usually) have better ovarian stimulation with a combination of gonadotropins such as Follistim, Gonal F, and Menopur. Also, we prefer to work with our patient’s natural menstrual cycles so we rarely use birth control pills to manipulate the cycle. The one thing that is consistent with every patient is that we ALWAYS do what we think is in their best interest.”
The most important thing that he has found in achieving his impressive IVF success rates is attentively catering a patient’s care to their specific, individualized needs and adjusting their medication regime accordingly.
“There are multiple protocols to choose from and I take advantage of all of them, using whichever one will be best for that specific patient. I take into consideration the antral follicle count, day 3 hormone test results, weight, age, and their fertility history and I come up with a tailored protocol to give my patient the best chances.” Says Dr. Rosencrantz.
“I choose to look at each patient as an individual. My staff tells me they have never worked anywhere with so many different medication plans for patients. At RHWC, we truly practice personalized medicine.”
To learn more about IVF medications or if you have any questions about fertility treatments don’t hesitate to Contact Reproductive Health and Wellness Center or give us a call at (949) 516-0606 to speak to our dedicated team about any of your fertility needs.