If you’re considering fertility treatment with In Vitro Fertilization, you must have read that drugs that stimulate ovulation play a very important role in the treatment . Many of our patients are well-informed about the procedure , but still have a number of questions such as “ Do they have any side effects ? “ If I am ovulating, then why do I need these ?” and “ Will they increase the risk of cancer? “. Here are some facts that will answer some of those questions.
• Hormones are Required for Normal Ovulation- In their reproductive years, women ovulate normally each month , which is why they have regular periods. A woman is always born with all the eggs that she will ever have. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH0 is produced by the pituitary gland; it causes rapid growth in a group of follicles. Every month, 1 of those eggs matures in a follicle on the woman’s ovary and is released- this is called ovulation.
If that egg gets fertilized & implants in her uterus, the woman becomes pregnant. If it doesn’t, the egg is then shed along with the endometrium (lining of the uterus) which is when she will have her period. Once a woman reaches her late 40s, she may notice that her periods may start becoming irregular. She is said to have reached the oopause ( or perimenopause). Eventually, her periods will stop, and if a woman has not had her period for a year it means she has entered menopause . On an average, women reach menopause in their 50’s,
• Age & Reduced Ovarian Reserve- Starting in their 30’s, there is a decline in the fertility of women. Along with the decline in the quantity of eggs, the quality of the eggs also reduces. The reducing number of these egg-containing follicles is referred to as diminished ovarian reserve or oopause.
• By the time women are in their mid-30’s , they start losing their fertility and a majority of them will not be able to have a successful pregnancy by this age without the help of assisted reproductive technology. Women who have poor ovarian reserves also have a much lower chance of getting pregnant, compared to those with a normal ovarian reserve (in the same age group).
• Dose of medicines - When you start on fertility treatment, your IVF doctor will first order certain tests to check your ovarian reserve. These include a blood test for AMH level and an antral follicle count. Based on these results as well as on those of other tests, he will develop your treatment plan.
• Ovarian Stimulation in IVF- The fact is that all your eggs are not created equal. The aim of using ovarian stimulation for In Vitro Fertilization treatment is to stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs. These eggs will be retrieved & then fertilized in the IVF lab. Since not all eggs are of good quality, having multiple eggs provides a good opportunity to select & fertilize more high quality eggs for a positive outcome
Gonadotropins (hMG & rFSH) are the drugs that are used to stimulate your ovaries. These are used in the IVF treatment.
Testing and More
Your IVF doctor will monitor you very closely when gonadotropins are being used in your treatment. This monitoring includes blood tests & transvaginal ultrasounds to check how your follicles (that are the ‘holders’ for your eggs) are developing. It also helps in checking whether you are experiencing any ovarian hyperstimulation.
Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you better!