Fertility Drugs Used For IVF Protocol


The whole IVF procedure can be pretty confusing and what adds to that confusion is the number and types of drugs which are used for the IVF protocol. This article aims to explain a little about the different meds and their role within the process.

It is advised to take an injectable gonadotropin releasing hormone named Lupron before you start stimulating the ovaries to produce more eggs which forms a normal part of the IVF cycle. The main aim of the stimulating the ovaries is to increase the production of more follicles to release a greater number of eggs which can be used during the IVF procedure. GnRH-agonists like Lupron work by preventing the usual tendency of the pituitary gland by permitting just one follicle to mature during each menstrual cycle. During this process, a Lupron IVF treatment protocol stops the irregular ovulation of the ovaries during each menstrual cycle. Lupron is more costlier and the worst-feared disadvantage of this drug is the uncomfortable menopause like side effects.

What Lupron Does in IVF

It is important to understand how ovulation normally works in a healthy woman before understanding the working mechanism of Lupron. Ovulation occurs in women when the pituitary gland releases high amounts of the female sex hormone estrogen which promotes the release of luteinizing hormone (LH). An elevated LH level stimulates the mature egg to get released through the follicle (while the Human CG trigger shot restores the LH surge in an IVF cycle). The fertility drugs usually given during an IVF cycle result in higher than normal estrogen levels, and there is a high risk of an unwanted LH surge. Around a tenth of the IVF cycles get cancelled due to LH surges which happen too early as immature eggs get released which are unfit for getting fertilized. Therefore, a GnRH-agonist like Lupron is given to prevent the estrogen production and to stop the LH surge stimulation by the pituitary gland.

There is no such thing a standard Lupron protocol, with each patient being assessed and levels and timings are uniquely recommended. This will depend on various factors prevailing with the individual patient. Normally, this will begin around a week before the period. The drug is available in injection form that should be administered subcutaneously i.e. directly underneath the skin. Lupron shots should be administered daily until the physician advices to discontinue or patient takes a Human CG trigger shot.

How To Give Lupron Shots

The drug can be easily delivered in the form of an under the skin injection. Your doctor will show you exactly the procedure to follow to successfully deliver the shots before starting with the drug protocol or else you can take assistance from a nurse during the first day of your Lupron protocol. Below are the instructions for drug administration:

* The site of injection should be thoroughly cleaned with a pad soaked in alcohol or other proprietary cleanser. You could also use the alcohol wipes which come in sterile packs. (Subcutaneous injections are administered one inch away from the belly button. The administration injection site should not have bumps and scars. Different sites should be chosen randomly and injected to avoid skin irritation).

* The syringe should be filled up with Lupron. The syringe should be held with the needle point facing upwards and the sides should be tapped gently to get rid of air bubbles. The syringe should be carefully depressed until you can see a tiny drop visible on the point of the needle. An inch of skin should be lifted to separate the fatty tissue from the deeper muscular layer.

* The shot should be positioned above the skin and deeply injected into the muscle, releasing the skin once the needle is in place.

Side Effects

Lupron can frequently cause menopause like symptoms like such as headaches, hot flashes, mood swings or tingling sensations. Side effects and severity vary from patient to patient but these do not last.

Costs of Lupron

The price of a cycle of Lupron is currently around $2800-$3100. Sometimes, this will be covered by your insurance so it is always worth checking.