How do hormones affect pregnancy?
For a woman to get pregnant naturally, certain hormones increase or activate at key moments. Hormones help the ovaries create and release a mature egg for fertilization. Before and during conception, other hormones prepare the uterus for implantation. The hormones return to normal if pregnancy does not happen during the cycle. Patients choosing IVF require medication that mimics these hormones. The medicine optimizes the reproductive process, allowing doctors to time the steps in IVF.
Preparing for FSH
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone that stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. The pituitary gland produces FSH. Optimal FSH levels allow the ovaries to make 1-2 mature eggs. However, FSH medication helps the ovaries produce 10 or more eggs. A medical team can then extract the additional eggs to create multiple embryos. These embryos can then be used for numerous cycles or frozen without stimulating the ovaries again.
Do you need GnRH?
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is a specific hormone for reproduction activated by the hypothalamus. The body releases just enough GnRH to tell the pituitary gland to release FSH and luteinizing hormone (LH). Both FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce eggs. GnRH can also help men with sperm production. Using GnRH medication helps fertility clinics time and control the ovulation cycle.
Time for a trigger shot
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a special hormone produced in small quantities by the body. HCG behaves like LH and is needed for eggs to mature. When hCG activates, the mature egg is released about 36 hours later. This hormone is also crucial in the first 3 months of fetal development. The body needs extra hCG, often called trigger shots, to help prepare the multiple eggs for extraction. Like LH, hCG can also help improve fertility in men.
Trust the process
For a successful IVF cycle, women must take hormone medication at the right time and in the right doses. Poor timing or lack of adherence can lead to failed cycles. These drugs come in both oral and injectable forms. The medical team will instruct the patient on the timing and technique required for each drug. Some drugs contain multiple hormones, while others will be a single hormone. As with any medication, there is a risk of side effects. The medical team will discuss with the patient as the effects vary. Multiple hormone drugs are part of the process. When done well, the chances of IVF success are greater.