What is ovarian stimulation?
To become pregnant, a woman’s body needs to have a proper balance of reproductive hormones to produce and release an egg. Normally, a woman’s body produces one mature egg approximately once a month. For women who are preparing to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF), the chances of conceiving are increased if many mature eggs can be retrieved at once. Ovarian stimulation is the process our Virginia fertility center uses to help prepare and encourage a woman’s ovaries to produce many eggs during a single ovulation cycle.
How ovarian stimulation works
Ovarian stimulation uses hormone medication to trigger the production of multiple mature eggs.
At our Virginia fertility center, the typical medication regimen is as follows.
- Birth control pills. Birth control pills allow our team to precisely time the various stages of ovulation to ensure that we are ready to move forward when the patient’s body is ready to produce eggs. Birth control pills are also used in egg donation to ensure that the donor’s cycle is synchronized with the recipient’s.
- Lupron or Ganirelix acetate. About four days before stopping the birth control pills, patients begin receiving Lupron injections. Lupron is a synthetic hormone that helps pause ovulation so that the patient can receive fertility drugs before her ovary releases the usual monthly egg on its own. Ganirelix acetate is an alternative to Lupron that is given later in the cycle, but also prevents premature ovulation.
- Fertility medication. Patients will usually receive fertility medication for 10-14 days. There are several types of medication, including Bravelle, Follistim, Gonal-F, and Menopur. The purpose of these drugs is to stimulate the ovaries to begin producing multiple mature eggs.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). hCG causes the ovaries to finish maturing their developing eggs and release them from their follicles. It is given 35 hours before the retrieval procedure is scheduled to take place.
Depending on a patient’s underlying health conditions, our Virginia fertility center team may prescribe additional medication. The medications that patients receive are scheduled for precise dates on a personalized calendar. Patients should pay close attention to their medication calendar and always follow the instructions to have the best chance at successful egg retrieval.
Learn more about ovarian stimulation
Not all women’s bodies respond the same way to ovarian stimulation medication. Before beginning the process, our Virginia fertility center provider assesses individual patients to determine the treatment protocols that are most likely to result in successful ovarian stimulation.
Learn more about ovarian stimulation and how we can help patients achieve the family they’ve longed for. Schedule a visit today.