Gonadotropins: Injectable Fertility Medications for Ovarian Stimulation
Treatments such as intrauterine insemination, IUI, or in vitro fertilization, IVF, may require ovarian stimulation. Ovation partner physicians often use injectable fertility medications called gonadotropins to achieve ovarian stimulation.
Two Types of Gonadotropins for Ovarian Stimulation
Two types of gonadotropins are used for ovarian stimulation:
- Follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH
- Luteinizing hormone, or LH
Normally, a woman’s pituitary gland will produce FSH and LH in a specific order and amount to cause only one follicle to grow and ovulate each month. However, when a patient receives injectable fertility medications, several follicles may grow and ovulate each month.
To Know: Two Different Classes of Gonadotropins
Gonadotropins made from recombinant DNA technology – Most Ovation partner physicians prefer to use this class of injectable fertility medications, which includes Gonal-F and Follistim.
Gonadotropins made from the purified urine of postmenopausal women – Some examples of medication from this class include Menopur and Repronex.
Gonadotropin Therapy: Daily Injections Monitored via Ultrasound
Before the patient begins injectable fertility medications, she will come to the office for an ultrasound at the start of her menstrual cycle.
- If the ultrasound does not show any cysts on her ovaries, her physician will ask her to start taking a daily dose of the injectable hormone.
- She will inject herself under the skin using a small needle; it is relatively painless.
While she takes the injectable fertility medication, her fertility doctor will monitor her using vaginal ultrasounds every two to three days as her follicles mature.
- When the ultrasound shows that the largest follicles are mature, the physician will administer a “trigger shot” — an injection of hCG or Ovidrel. This injection will mature the follicles and cause ovulation to occur.
- Intrauterine insemination can be performed in the two days following the injection.
- In an IVF cycle, eggs are retrieved from the ovaries about 36 hours after the hCG/Ovidrel “trigger” shot.
Gonadotropins Even More Successful than Clomid in Ovarian Stimulation
Because they commonly cause multiple follicles to develop, gonadotropins typically produce better pregnancy rates than Clomid when combined with IUI.
Patients may experience side effects when taking gonadotropins. These side effects include bloating, cysts, pregnancies with multiples, and sometimes a very rare condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. However, Ovation partner physicians carefully monitor patients to keep the risk of side effects low.
Injectable fertility medications can provide ovarian stimulation in patients who suffer from numerous causes of infertility. If you have any questions about injectable fertility medications, please contact us.