Fertility Drugs

An IVF (in vitro fertilisation) medication cycle consists of different medications or fertility drugs that stimulate the body to promote pregnancy using IVF.

The particulars of the cycle are decided by a specialist physician.

Below are some of the most widely used fertility drugs.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonist

This is a fertility medication that allows improved control of ovarian stimulation during the administration of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH, see below).  This means that it allows the body to produce a higher number of improved quality eggs during the treatment cycle.

Some GnRH agonists are: Buserelin, Leuprorelin, Nafarelin, Lupron (Prostap), Triptorelin, Decapeptyl and Synarel.

Some are injected beneath the skin while others are given in the form of a nasal spray. Hormonal surges that can occur in the middle of the fertility cycle can also be reduced using these GnRH agonists.

 

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)

FSH is given to stimulate the ovarian follicle (the cellular structure where eggs develop in the womb). This is then followed by the hormones human chorionic gonadotropins (hCG), to trigger ovulation.

The antagonists Cetrotide, Ganirelix and Antagon are IVF medications that are given by injection, usually only for three or four days. They are antagonists of gonadotropin releasing hormones (GnRH) and are used to prevent premature ovulation.

 

Gonadotropin preparations

These are medications that simulate the physiological effects of gonadotropins (hormones). They are taken as subcutaneous injections that provide stimulation to the follicles that contain the eggs during the stimulation phase. Gonal F, Menopur, Merional, Fostimon, Puregon, Bravelle, Follistim, Pergonal and Repronex are the most commonly used gonadotropins.

 

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG)

The administration of hCG in the presence of one or more mature ovarian follicles can trigger ovulation to aid egg retrieval. It can also be used to stimulate the production of progesterone. The most commonly used hCGs are Pregnyl, Ovitrelle, Profasi and Novarel.

 

Prednisolone/Medrol

The generic name is Methylprednisolone and is a corticosteroid-based hormone (a corticosteroid is simply a type of steroid). It is normally given for a period of four days during the IVF cycle, to assist pre-embryo implantation.

 

Doxycycline

Doxycycline is an antibiotic also known, amongst others,  by the brand names Vibramycin, Monodox, Microdox, Periostat, Doxoral and Atridox.

It’s administered in pill form and is given to the male partner during the wife's stimulation IVF cycle to reduce the minute levels of bacteria found in the semen. These bacteria can compromise the performance and quality of the sperm during an IVF cycle. It is also sometimes given to the female to reduce the risk of infection following aspiration of the follicles during the egg retrieval period.

 

Progesterone

Natural progesterone can be taken as a daily intramuscular injection called Gestone, starting two days after egg retrieval, and continuing until the placenta is making adequate amounts of progesterone by itself.

It can be given in the form of a pessary or suppository called Cyclogest, given rectally in a dose of 400 mg twice daily until embryo transfer, and rectally or vaginally after embryo transfer.

Progesterone can also be given in the form of a vaginal gel Crinone or capsules called Utrogestan. It’s essential to prepare the womb lining for the implantation of an embryo and ovulation induction. It can also be used to induce a period in a woman who hasn't ovulated.

More information about IVF can also be found on What Is IVF?.  Any other questions regarding IVF treatments or fertility medication can be directed to our customer service team.