Understanding fertility drugs for egg freezing
Many women wonder about fertility drugs for egg freezing. There are three groups of medications that our San Antonio egg freezing experts use in egg freezing cycles: the stimulation medications (gonadotropins), the medications that prevent ovulation from occurring prematurely and the drugs that cause the eggs to mature prior to retrieval.
Fertility drugs for egg freezing – Stimulation
The stimulation medications, or gonadotropins, that our San Antonio egg freezing experts typically use are Gonal F®, Follistim® and Menopur®. These medications used in egg freezing may be used individually or in combination with each other.
These fertility drugs for egg freezing are injected on a daily basis for 10-14 days. They cause the follicles (fluid-filled sacs within the ovaries that contain an egg) to grow. Typical follicles grow to 18-20mm in diameter during stimulation. As they grow, the egg inside becomes mature.
Prevention of ovulation
There are two different classes of drugs used to prevent ovulation from occurring prematurely: GnRH-agonists and GnRH antagonists. Both medications used in egg freezing prevent the brain from releasing hormones that cause untimely ovulation, or release of the eggs.
The primary GnRH-agonist in the US is leuprolide acetate (Lupron®). Leuprolide acetate is given on a daily basis, starting a few days prior to the beginning of a stimulation cycle and continuing until the lead follicle size measures 18-20 mm. Cetrotide® and Ganirelix® are the primary fertility drugs for egg freezing in the GnRH antagonist category. These are usually administered when the lead follicles are 12-15mm in diameter.
A sperm can only fertilize mature eggs. In a natural cycle, the brain releases a hormone called LH, which causes the eggs to mature. LH has a short half-life, so it is very difficult to administer it in a dose that would cause egg maturation.
To achieve the same result, our San Antonio egg freezing experts use either hcg (pregnancy hormone) or leuprolide acetate. Hcg has a very similar chemical structure to LH, but has a much more stable half-life. The structure is so similar that it can easily bind to the LH receptors and cause the eggs to mature. Leuprolide acetate, despite usually being used to prevent ovulation, can also be used to stimulate egg maturity.
Summary of fertility drugs for egg freezing cycles
Our San Antonio egg freezing experts use the following fertility drugs for egg freezing:
- Gonal F, Follistim and/or Menopur for stimulation.
- Leuprolide acetate, Cetrotide or Ganirelix to prevent ovulation.
- Leuprolide acetate or hcg to mature the eggs.
Contact us to schedule an appointment and learn more about how you can preserve your fertility with egg freezing.