Fertility Drugs for IVF

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Fertility Drugs Commonly Used for IVF

A number of fertility drugs are used to prepare the body for the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Ovarian hormonal medications are used to stimulate the development of multiple ovarian follicles. These medications are administered for two reason:

  • To enhance the growth and maturation of multiple follicles, thereby improving chances for fertilization and development
  • To control the timing of ovulation so eggs can be retrieved before they are spontaneously released

Hormonal medications used are:

  • Clomiphene citrate: Serophene® or Clomid®. These drugs act by stimulating the pituitary gland to release the woman's own hormones - follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinsing hormone (LH) which cause the growth of follicles.
  • Gonadotrophin release hormone - agonist (GnRH-a): can be taken either by injection or by intranasal spray. It has two actions. Initially, it is to cause the release of the woman's own hormones. If it is given for more than three days it causes activity of the pituitary to be "down-regulated", thus suppressing the woman's own release of hormones so that other hormones may be given and greater control of the cycle achieved.
  • Pure FSH: is a new breakthrough in production of pur FSH hormone using genetic engineering technology. Previously, FSH for ovulation induction could only be produced from urine of postmenopausal women which might be contaminated with other related hormones and in some cases caused allergic reactions. Now with the highly purified FSH more oocytes, more embryos with better quality and more pregnancies can be expected.
  • Human chorionic gonadotrophins (hCG): is an injection hormone used to cause the final maturation of oocytes in the follicles. The administration of hCG is timed according to the size of the leading follicles as measured by ultrasound scanning as well as the levels of estrogen in the blood. Oocyte recovery is usually 34 to 36 hours after the administration of the hCG.
  • Progesterone: can be taken orally or by intramuscular injection or vaginal administration. It is given after ovulation or after the assisted conception process to produce an advanced endometrium which is beneficial for the implantation process.
  • Bromocriptine: is given in certain cases to patients with a high level of the hormone prolactin.

This is not an exhaustive list of fertility drugs but is representative of medications commonly used in IVF procedures. You must consult your doctor for more information and recommendations regarding any infertility treatment medications.


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