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IVF is a savior for women and families all over the world and it has helped many people make their dreams come true. Nonetheless, IVF alone doesn’t always show results. So, your doctor may prescribe you some medications to increase the chances of you getting a bun in the oven. This is a treatment that’s a vital part of the IVF process, and it helps prepare the uterus for the pregnancy and it also stimulates the ovaries, encouraging them to give “results”.
What Are the Types of IVF Medications?
Of course, there’s not one single type of fertility medication. There is quite a long list of such treatments, each one with a certain effect on your body. Also, each is prescribed depending on the source of your fertility problem. Furthermore, it will depend on what stimulation protocol your doctor has prescribed and your age.
That being said, the types of fertility drugs that women can be given prior to an in vitro fertilization are:
- Drugs that Cause Ovulation
Many times, the inability to get pregnant exists due to an imbalance in the way women ovulate. Sometimes, they ovulate irregularly or don’t ovulate at all. Thus, some fertility medications can stimulate the production of eggs to ovulate, and even increase their quality.
Some fertility medications include hormones that are necessary to prepare your uterus for conceiving a baby. This will increase the chances of success of the treatment and the IVF itself.
IVF Medications List
There is a wide range of options when it comes to fertility medications for IVF. They are all good in certain aspects and some are more effective than others. The most commonly met ones are:
- Prenatal Vitamins
Prenatal vitamins are meant to prepare the body with the required nutrients to handle a pregnancy. They should be taken when a woman is trying to conceive.
- Birth Control Pills
When used to aid the IVF process, their goal is to regulate your menstrual cycles, so the ovulation doesn’t happen earlier or later than it should. Furthermore, it will ready the reproductive system for the in vitro fertilization process.
- Clomiphene (Clomid)
When a woman is dealing with ovulation problems, Clomiphene is one of the first treatments offered by the doctor. It has the power to trigger ovulation.
Novarel is an injection, and it’s a synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin. When everything else taken to trigger ovulation fails, Novarel comes to save the day and do the job.
Progesterone is basically a steroid. When you’re about to have a baby, the uterus must be ready for it, which is exactly how this medicine can help. It will synchronize with the other preparations of the embryo implantation by readying the uterus.
Meant to relax your muscles, it’s a great medicine taken before the embryo gets transferred. Aside from relaxing your muscles, it can also rid you of the anxiety you’re facing.
Administered orally, doxycline’s job is to treat infections, but also to decrease the risk of infections that could happen after your eggs are collected.
- Letrozole (Femara)
This is, once again, a medication that can trigger ovulation. However, it’s said that this one is more effective in the case of women with obesity or PCOS.
When your eggs are collected, only a part of them will be of high quality and effective. By taking Lupron, your body will be able to produce quality eggs in a higher number.
If you’re suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome, or PCOS, this may cause an increase in resistance to insulin. This could be detrimental to your ovulation, which is what might keep you from getting pregnant easier. Metformin can decrease insulin resistance.
Gonadotropins are used to stimulate your ovaries’ activity, such as ovulation. They are hormones prescribed when other treatments are not showing results. They can be given through a nasal spray or injections.
What Should You Expect?
Since there are so many types of fertility medications for IVF, you should consult with your doctor so he can conduct a proper analysis. This usually consists of ovulation tests, fallopian tubes and uterus tests, as well as blood work and many others. All of these will help locate the problem and figure out which medication would be most effective.
Also, you may have to chart your menstrual cycles, as well as take the temperature of your basal body at the beginning of each day. Through this, the doctor will know when you should start the IVF treatment. After all, some drugs should be taken only on particular days of the cycle.
How Do They Work?
Now, let’s talk about the way these medications work. As mentioned, IVF medications are taken by women with ovulation problems. Basically, they are causing your body to release hormones that increase the chances of getting pregnant.
Their purpose is to stimulate ovulation, being an important aspect of the whole in vitro fertilization process. When your body is ovulating, it creates a number of eggs, from which only one will actually be ovulated. The rest of them will be absorbed by the ovary, thus not getting the chance to be ovulated. Well, medications can save these eggs from being absorbed, and keep them so you have more eggs for fertilization. Not only that, but they can also make the embryologist’s job easier, because he’ll be able to select the highest-quality ones, so you have better chances to get pregnant.
As such, the treatment will be started for a few days, and the first step is taking birth control pills. Their aim is to stop your body from ovulating too early during the treatment. Afterward, you will be given injections to stimulate your ovaries. They’ll be triggered to produce eggs. These eggs will later be collected as soon as they’re ready to go through the entire process.
Risks or Side Effects
Fertility medications, including IVF medications, is not free from side effects. While they may be able to help, they could also cause some issues. Probably one of the greatest risks you take with this treatment is ovarian hyperstimulation or OHSS. When this happens, the ovaries are stimulated too much to release the eggs and end up producing more than normal.
Although most cases are not that bad, that doesn’t exclude the possibility of having a more severe reaction to the treatment.
Moreover, some women may develop an allergy or sensitivity to the fertility drugs, which could involve skin issues, headaches, breast tenderness and many more. Even so, they usually disappear not long after you get an injection.
Other side effects, much rarer compared to the others, are ectopic pregnancies. These can be terrifying to think of alone. Basically, when this happens, an embryo implants outside of the uterus and starts developing there. It’s a huge risk to your life and it must be treated through surgery or medication.
Other side effects you may experience upon taking fertility medications for IVF are:
- Heavier periods
- Stomach pains
- Mood swings
- Weight Gain
- Increased urination
If you notice any side effect, you should let your doctor know, as he may come up with a solution and tell you if something needs to be done.
How Can You Make the Injections Easier?
Fear of needles combined with an urge to have a baby is not a great mix. As such, the thought of having to get injections for ovary stimulation might not sound that good, and if you could, you’d run for the hills.
Nevertheless, you should always come up with ideas on how to take your IVF medication injections in time. Not obeying this rule could decrease the success rates of the in vitro fertilization, and you don’t want that either. So, what can be done?
- Set Reminders
You can simply write the schedule down on paper and have it pinned wherever you spend most of your time. Although this doesn’t force you to take the actual fertility medication injections, seeing the schedule instead of just having it in your mind has better chances of convincing you of its importance. If you can, let it remind you of how much of a negative impact a missed injection can have on your IVF process.
- Ask a Loved One to Help You Out
If you have to administer the injections yourself, yet can’t seem to bring the needle one inch closer to your skin, ask a loved one that you trust to help you out. This way, you’ll be able to look away while it’s done, and your IVF process won’t have to suffer.
- Talk to Your Doctor
It’s best to have your doctor tell you about how these injections are used and this includes the preparation of the syringe and injection site. You should know how to administer the shot, which area is the best and what you should do once you’re done with the shot. These should be done in advance, so you have time to figure everything out.
How Much Do They Cost?
It all comes down to the type of treatment you will be given and the difficulty of your problem but as a general rule, fertility medications for IVF are not cheap. In fact, some of them may be very expensive, even if the price could range from a pharmacy to another.
There’s no one set price for the medication, but as a general idea, they could be between $3,000 and $5,000 per cycle. If you do some pharmacy shopping before you start, you may get an idea and make sure you have the funds prior to it. You can also check for generic versions of it. If you’re lucky enough, your insurance may cover the costs.
Does Health Insurance Cover This Treatment?
Not everyone is a millionaire. As IVF is expensive enough as it is, cutting some of the costs could be dreamy at this point. After all, you know these medications are special and are not of the cheapest kind.
Sadly, infertility treatment is not usually covered by health insurance companies in the US. There is a chance of it happening if the treatment happens due to a medical condition, though. Therefore, if you suffer from conditions such as PCOS or infections, the insurance policy might cover some of the costs, at least.
Also, in some states, you have more options when it comes to covering the IVF medication costs. We recommend talking to the insurance company representative and find out what benefits you have.
What You Can Do If You Can’t Afford IVF Medications
If fertility medications are too expensive for you, then there are a few things you can to ensure that you’ll still benefit from the treatment. You can:
- Get an IVF Scholarship
There are a lot of organizations willing to offer you scholarships in order to handle the costs. As such, you won’t have to break the bank to afford them.
- Use Your FSA or HSA Funds
If you made savings through a Health Savings Account or Flexible Spending Account, then you’ll be happy to know they can be used to afford IVF treatment.
- Use Fertility Clinic Financing
Because they’re aware the costs are quite high, many fertility clinics offer their clients financing options to be able to afford the medication. Therefore, you won’t have to deal with the stress of getting the money and you can focus on your pregnancy instead.
The Bottom Line
If you need to undergo treatment prior to an IVF, then you should make sure you have the necessary funds. These medications are not the cheapest, and they can do a number on your wallet. Luckily, there are some funding options that can help you out.
Fertility medications have a great chance of increasing the success rate of your IVF procedure and allowing you to get the family you’ve dreamt of. If you’re ready to embrace the fact that some side effects may come your way, then you can pursue this treatment and increase your chances of holding a baby in your arms.