In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology that follows a multistep process which is carefully controlled with the use of medications. These medications, often given in the beginning of the IVF process, are used to imitate the natural reproduction process, except with more precision and expertise. The process focuses on pituitary down regulation, controlled ovarian stimulation, induction of ovulation, and luteal-phase support.
“Fertility drugs are mostly an essential part of the protocol for IVF, to help produce more eggs, create embryos and freeze eggs for future pregnancy, in a process known as cryopreservation,” says Dr Gautam Allahbadia, a senior reproductive embryologist and an IVF expert, who is currently practising at the Millennium Medical Center, Al Thanya, Dubai.
Fertility drugs are also helpful when a woman experiences infrequent ovulation or doesn’t ovulate at all. “In such cases, either clomiphene, letrozole or gonadotropins may be used. Often, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is performed at the time of ovulation. Even if a woman ovulates, but is still not being able to conceive, a fertility drug may help in reproduction, through ovarian stimulation,” explains another fertility expert at the American Reproduction Centre.

Talking about fertility drugs and the risk-bearing assertions that surmount it, while fertility drugs are effective in increasing the chances of conceiving and carrying the baby to term, it sometimes can lead to ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS is “an uncommon but serious complication” according to ASRM. Medical studies suggest that it occurs in moderate or severe form in only 1 to 5 per cent of cycles. Research often cited by clinicians show that severe OHSS occurs in just 0.03 per cent of cycles.
However, the strategies for identifying high-risk patients and treating the condition have advanced significantly over the recent years. Among two recent studies, one argues that most cases of OHSS are completely “avoidable” while the other asserts that avoiding “increasingly aggressive treatment protocols” can terminate the continuing cases of OHSS.
Other than OHSS, other common side-effects that subside in a few days are drug allergy or sensitivity that involve breast tenderness, headaches, mood swings or skin issues.
As for the fertility treatments, different types of drugs are used during IVF, some taken orally and some are injected as “fertility shots”. The exact drug and dosage used during IVF depends on THE patient’s age, test results and the stimulation protocol prescribed by their fertility expert.
Fertility medications are used within a monitored treatment cycle to improve your chances of pregnancy. However, before taking any fertility drugs, patients should always consult about the fertility drug options available, including the benefits and risks of each alternative.

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A health consultant and a part-time blogger interested in topics concerned with health, parenting, and lifestyle.