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Commonly Used IVF Drugs

Updated on January 23, 2011

 IVF is a form of treatment for infertility. IVF is a procedure that involves the stimulation of a woman's ovaries. Treatment is designed to help her produce more eggs and thus increase her chances of having a viable egg that can be fertilized and result in a successful IVF pregnancy. As part of the cycle a woman can expect to take fertility drugs. Understanding the medications used is vitally important to understanding how the process of IVF works.

An IVF cycle begins with the decision to take birth control pills. The purpose of birth control pills is to prepare a woman's ovaries for the coming cycle. The birth control pills help make it easier to control the development of follicles. This is a necessary step to controlling the outcome of the IVF treatment.

After a woman takes birth control pills she will then start on medications to control the growth of her eggs. The most commonly IVF drugs are pergonal and repronex. Each medication is designed to increase her egg production. Pergonal and repronex are gonadtropins. They are injected just below the skin using a very small needle. The fertility patient will inject varying amounts of the drugs each day. These IVF drugs may be used once a day or up to three times a day. The medications carry side effects that can include bloating and excess weight gain. The weight gain is temporary.

Another commonly used IVF drug is ganirelex. Ganirelex is used to prevent premature follicle ovulation. As the follicles develop, they are in danger of releasing an egg too early. If the follicles release an egg too early in the cycle the egg will not fertilize. This will result in the loss of the follicle. Too many early follicles and the cycle is in danger of being cancelled. Ganirelex is injected into the skin once a day using a thin needle. The IVF drug may cause complications that include swelling and itching.

 After the follicles have sufficiently matured during the course of the IVF treatment, a woman takes medication to induce controlled ovulation so the eggs can be harvested. This medication comes in the form of a single injection. hCG is injected intramuscularly. The shot is given at a specific time frame to make sure that the eggs will be released at the right hour. hCG should be given carefully. The medication can damage muscle if not used correctly.

Once the eggs have been harvested, the IVF patient takes two medications. IVF drugs used during this period are a steroid to reduce swelling and an antibiotic to reduce the risk of infection.

Once the egg has been transferred back in her body, many doctors will prescribe additional IVF drugs. Progesterone is used to support the egg for several weeks. The body does not make progesterone on its own after an IVF cyle. An IVF pregnancy requires her to use artificial progesterone. Progesterone can injected or used via suppositories. IVF treatment, if the patient is pregnant, involves weekly blood tests to make sure the body is absorbing the progesterone properly. An IVF pregnancy requires the patient to submit to weekly blood tests and injections for approximately eight to ten weeks after a positive pregnancy test.

 IVF drugs can be quite expensive. Some people have insurance coverage for the medications. You can save on IVF drugs in many ways. Some doctors can provide you with samples. You may also be able to buy IVF drugs overseas and time the cycle to coincide with the need for the medications. Some IVF patients agree to share medications during IVF treatment. If you need fewer dosages but buy more more than expected, you can donate the excess medication to a fellow patient. Doctors will distribute the donated meds to other people.

Contact your IVF treatment center to discuss your options for reduced costs.

IVF Drugs


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