You’ve heard of In-Vitro Fertilization, or IVF for short. You know that it involves giving the hopeful mother injections every day, but do you know what is IN those injections? Keep reading to learn what’s in the IVF injections and what the medicines do.
Which Medications Are Used for IVF?
There are a number of different medicines used in IVF for various different reasons. The type and number of medications depends on the woman’s test results and age.
Loma Linda University lists the following medications as the most common ones used in IVF. (website here).
Birth Control Pills
Usually, birth control pills will be given to the woman in order to regulate her menstrual cycle. This will happen about a month or two before beginning the IVF treatment regimen.
Being on birth control allows the fertility doctors to be able to properly predict ovulation times.
Vitamins made especially for pregnancy and breastfeeding should be taken for at least a month before treatment begins. These vitamins have extra folic acid, which is vital in the first 3-4 weeks of pregnancy to prevent neural tube defects in the baby.
Make sure the vitamins have at least 400mg of folic acid. They should have extra iron as well.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone
These injections are given to increase the number of follicles in the ovaries. The follicles are where the eggs grow until they mature. There are 3 different types of this hormone, and what they give is determined by the woman’s test results.
Lupron is given to the woman to increase egg production. It also improves the quality of the eggs. This medication is also treats endometriosis and uterine fibroids in women, and prostate cancer in men.
The goal is to have the woman grow as many eggs as possible and let the doctor harvest them from her ovaries. Normally a woman only grows one mature egg each month. In the IVF process, 10 healthy, mature eggs is a good goal to aim for.
This drug helps regulate other hormones in fertility treatment. The doctors give it to the woman to keep her from ovulating before the eggs are mature enough to harvest.
This is why IVF can be uncomfortable. As the eggs mature and are kept in the ovaries, the ovaries stretch and grow, and this can cause cramping and pain.
This is a synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection they use to cause the woman to ovulate. Doctors use Novarel with other medications to induce ovulation.
You will use this before IVF, to try to ovulate and become pregnant on your own, with intra-uterine insemination.
Prednisone is a steroid. Doctors use it to treat patients that have antibodies that attack sperm. They also use it for patients that have repeat miscarriages to help strengthen the reproductive system.
The ovaries produce this hormone, and (in the second trimester of pregnancy) then the placenta. It keeps the placenta functioning properly and the uterine lining healthy and thick.
During IVF, doctors use it to prepare the uterine lining as the treatment cycle is ending. This ensures the uterus is ready for embryo implantation.
The ovaries also typically produce estrogen (and later during pregnancy the placenta does the job). This hormone is responsible for helping the uterus grow, for triggering the release of other hormones, and for increasing blood flow during pregnancy.
In IVF treatment, it causes the uterine lining to thicken so that the embryo has a nice, soft place to implant.
Usually doctors will give the woman an antibiotic and a pain medication during and after egg retrieval. This will ease her pain and discomfort and protect her from infection.
All of these hormones work together in the body to bring about pregnancy, but when things don’t work right, there are options. You can try these artificial hormones to get your body working right, or you can start with something more natural.
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