Gonadotropins For Ovarian Induction
Gonadotropins Are Used For Both Men And Women
What do Pergonal, Repronex, Menogon, Fertinex, Follistim, Gonal F, Puregon, Pregnyl, Novarel, Profasi, and Ovidrel have in common? They are all trade names for a type of fertility treatment that is given by intramuscular injection to both men and women. The hormone stimulating drug treatment is gonadotropins. In women, gonadotropins stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in a cycle. In men, gonadotropins help when there is a hormonal imbalance linked to low sperm count or poor sperm quality or motility.
What Are Gonadotropins?
Some of the hormone medications contain only follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) while others contain equal amounts of FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones are designed to directly stimulate the ovaries to produce follicles, which contain eggs. Gonadotropin treatment may come in the form of human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG), which is a blend of both FSH and LH and is injected daily for seven to 12 days. The injections act as a dose of FSH, which prompts the ovaries to produce more than one follicle at a time. Once the production is established, then injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are given in order to cause a release of the eggs into the fallopian tubes where they can be fertilized.
How Are They Administered?
Gonadotropin treatment, whether hMG or pure follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), is administered by injection three days into the monthly menstrual cycle and they continue for seven to 12 days, depending on the length of time required for the eggs to mature. Frequent monitoring is done using trans-vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests to determine the efficacy of the drug. Once the eggs are mature, hCG is administered by injection. This will trigger ovulation within 24 to 36 hours. In order to generate conception, sex will be performed at home or a scheduled intrauterine insemination (IUI) will be done.
Gonadotropins are used for a maximum of six cycles. If there is no success with this treatment, either the dosage is increased or other types of fertilization techniques are determined.
Side Effects Of Gonadotropins
Most drugs have side effects and gonadotropins are no different. Abdominal tenderness, bloating, fluid retention, and weight gain are common side effects. Some people have a very difficult time with self-injection as well. Gonal F and Follistim, which are newer and purer gonadotropins, cause fewer side effects and are injected under the skin using a smaller needle.
Fertility drugs and infertility treatments carry with them an inherent challenge and that is the real possibility of a multiple pregnancy. Even though having more than one baby at a time is a blessing, multiples are at risk for miscarriage and other types of complications consistent with such pregnancies.
Fertility treatments are lengthy and intense. Couples undergoing these types of procedures experience the emotional as well as physical toll they take. During the process, it is important for the couple to have as much support as possible. The success rate is reasonable and is improving over time as newer and better methods of treatment are being developed