How Are Fertility Drugs Used During IVF?

Medication plays a key role in the in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment process. Understanding how fertility drugs work and the role of a fertility pharmacy will help simplify this complex process and the important steps in IVF treatment.

How Fertility Drugs Work

Fertility drugs cause the release of hormones that can trigger or regulate ovulation. In most cases, medication for IVF treatment focuses on stimulating ovulation, but fertility drugs are also used through the full process.

A Reproductive Endocrinologist usually prescribes hormonal birth control to control ovulation timing. Other prescribed medications help produce more high-quality eggs, speed up the growth of follicles in ovaries and later, prepare the uterus for embryo implantation as part of IVF treatment.

Fertility Drugs for IVF Treatment Phases

Each stage of IVF treatment includes specialty fertility drugs designed to prepare the body and create the right conditions to achieve a healthy pregnancy. One of the benefits of working with a fertility pharmacy is we understand and oversee the different protocols for each phase based on your unique diagnosis.

  • Pituitary downregulation: From anywhere between three days and two weeks, GnRH agonists or antagonists work to shut down follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) production.
  • Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation: Fertility drugs like clomiphene, GnRH analogues and FSH stimulate the ovaries for ovulation, and support mature ovarian follicles and corpus luteum development.
  • Ovulation induction: About one day after the last day of ovarian hyperstimulation, anhCG injection mimics an LH surge to induce ovulation for IVF treatment.
  • Luteal phase support: In the second half of the cycle, progesterone accommodates for pituitary downregulation and helps provide adequate levels of progesterone to improve implantation and pregnancy rates.

Common Fertility Drugs

Throughout IVF treatment, your Reproductive Endocrinologist may prescribe these specific fertility drugs:

  • Birth control pills: Helps regulate menstrual cycles and prepare your reproductive system for IVF treatment.
  • Leuprolide: Can be used to suppress hormones, to trigger ovulation, and compounded as a micro dose for a micro flare cycle.
  • Ganirelix and Cetrotide: Assists with preventing premature ovulation.
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH): Injections that can increase follicle growth in the ovaries.
  • Novarel, Pregnyl, hCG: Synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection that’s used to trigger ovulation.
  • Progesterone: hormone necessary to nourish and prepare the uterine lining for embryo implantation.
  • Estrace (estrogen): Hormone available as a tablet, a patch, an injectable or a compounded vaginal suppository to supply estrogen.
  • Microdose Lupron: Used to stimulate the ovaries to release fsh, which also prevents premature  ovulation during IVF treatment.

Benefits of a Fertility Pharmacy

When navigating a complex medical situation, you need to work with a specialist with extensive knowledge. A fertility pharmacy like Mandell’s Clinical Pharmacy specializes in fertility medications and treatments and understands how these medications work together to replicate the fertilization process. One exciting benefit of a fertility pharmacy? We become a valued member of your IVF treatment team. We’re happy to consult with your providers on the best fertility drug choices for you, as far as pricing, convenience, interactions, along with the correct dosing and route of administration.

Contact us today to learn how we can assist you on your fertility journey.