A Guide to Fertility Medications
Although learning you have fertility issues can be frustrating; technological advances have presented several different treatment options to help you achieve your dream of starting a family. The variety of treatment options and medications allow doctors to curate a regimen or program based on your specific needs to help ensure a successful pregnancy. Fertility issues do not have to define you, with plenty of options available to help you overcome these struggles to start a beautiful family.
According to Resolve: The National Infertility Association, one in eight couples are affected by fertility issues. As fertility issues are relatively common, there are a variety of treatment options and medications available to help. Understanding how these treatments and medications work is essential as couples look to build their families. The guide below is a great resource for learning about the functions of common fertility drugs.
FSH & LH Medications
Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are naturally occurring hormones generated during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Created by the brain, they are triggered by low levels of estrogen and progesterone. The purpose of FSH and LH is to encourage the ovaries to grow the follicles that hold eggs. Throughout the menstrual cycle, these hormones are consistently produced and work to grow eggs to maturity, enabling eventual fertilization, implantation and pregnancy.
When the body does not produce enough FSH and LH on its own, medications can be used in their place to achieve the same result – growing follicles and mature eggs. Common FSH medications include Follistim, Gonal-f, and Bravelle. Menopur and Repronex are two other medications that contain both FSH and LH.
These medications are often used because of their LH content, as many physicians believe LH is required for follicles to produce estrogen. Your doctor may prescribe a combination of both FSH and LH drugs during your treatment to encourage the body to develop mature eggs, as well as a thick uterine lining that is suitable for the implantation of a fertilized egg.
At the end of a woman’s menstrual cycle, the brain typically produces a large amount of LH. This LH surge works to make eggs ready for fertilization and causes the Graafian follicle to rupture, resulting in ovulation, or the release of eggs into the fallopian tube where they can become fertilized.
Doctors may prescribe human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) medications to simulate this LH surge when it cannot happen naturally or when doctors want to control the timing. Some HCG medications include Pregnyl, Novarel, and Ovidrel as well as generic formulas.
GnRH Agonist and Antagonist Medications
Drugs such as Ganirelix Acetate Injection and Centrotide are designed to stop the body from producing surges of hormones such as FSH and LH naturally during the in-vitro fertilization process. Although FSH and LH are “good” hormones enabling egg development and pregnancy, your doctors may need to control the development of these hormones to ensure IVF egg retrieval is successful.
If your body produces surges of natural hormones while the physician is prescribing hormone replacing drugs, the eggs you produce may not be viable because of the overproduction of hormones. For this reason, GnRH drugs work to make the in-vitro fertilization process a success.
Progesterone is a hormone that, when produced naturally, maintains thickness of the uterine wall and helps a woman sustain a pregnancy after an egg is fertilized and implanted. Most doctors will prescribe progesterone after egg retrieval so the uterus creates a hospitable environment in which the fetus can develop. After implanting an embryo, your doctor will likely continue to prescribe progesterone for 8-12 weeks of pregnancy.
Dealing with infertility can be overwhelming, but the variety of available treatments and medications give you plenty of options to retain the ability to start your family. A highly knowledgeable and compassionate team of medical professionals can work with you to find the right treatment for your specific needs.
Taking the time to fully understand what different medications are used for throughout the process will help you stay hopeful and better deal with infertility. Red Rock Fertility has the experience and latest knowledge to provide you with the best medications to help you start your family.