Millions of Americans struggle with infertility, struggling to become pregnant and enjoy the families they’ve always wanted. Fortunately, recent advancements in ART, or Assisted Reproductive Technology, offer hope for couples that have been unable to conceive. By far, the most popular of these is IVF, or in vitro fertilization, an exact, sophisticated multi-step process that can help remedy a variety of fertility issues. Over the past few decades, over five million babies have been born as a result of this treatment. IVF involves stimulating egg production, harvesting eggs, combining them with sperm in a lab to form embryos, and placing these within the female partner’s uterus, where they will hopefully implant. In the following blog post, we discuss the role that IVF medications play in this process at our San Antonio fertility practice. We use various drugs throughout treatment to help it go as smoothly and successfully as possible.
First, the female patient will need to take certain medications to help encourage ovulation. It’s important to develop as many eggs as possible during this ovulation cycle so that there are more healthy options for harvesting. To stimulate abundant ovulation, you will need to inject several different medications into your thigh or stomach region. These include:
- Luteinizing and/or follicle stimulating hormones, which you’ll need to take one to three times per day to help your body produce more eggs.
- Gonadotropin releasing hormones, substances that stop your reproductive system from ovulating too soon and interfering with the harvesting procedure. Depending on your particular needs, you may inject these medications before or partway through your cycle.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), which you’ll inject at a precise point in your cycle (typically between day 11 and day 13) to trigger even greater ovulation right before the harvesting procedure.
Egg stimulation is a nuanced, complex, and delicate process, so you’ll need to come and see us regularly throughout the two weeks you take these drugs. We’ll perform ultrasound tests and blood panels to ensure that your body is responding properly to the injections.
Anesthesia and Sedation
When you’re about to ovulate, our doctors will harvest the eggs you’ve produced (with the assistance of egg stimulating drugs) using a special needle. To keep you calm, comfortable, and safe during this procedure, we’ll provide anesthesia and sedation. At your initial consultation, please provide your medical records and let us know if you have any allergies to these medications.
Once our fertility specialists have combined your eggs and your partner’s sperm in our lab and given them a few days to incubate, we’ll insert the embryos into your uterus. To help them attach to your uterine lining so you may become pregnant, you’ll need to take the hormone progesterone every day for two weeks. This IVF medication must be injected into the buttocks, so you will need someone (typically your partner, a friend, or family member) to assist you in administering this drug.
We’ll Help You at Every Step
Knowing when and how to take various IVF medications can seem overwhelming, but don’t worry. Our experienced, caring fertility specialists will be there for you every step of the way. We’ll show you how to perform the injections, monitor your progress, answer any questions you may have, and provide suggestions to improve your chances for conception with advanced IVF treatment.
Contact the Fertility Center of San Antonio Today
If you have further questions about IVF medications or would like to learn more about how this treatment may benefit you, contact us today to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.