Ovarian Stimulation for IVF is a multi-step process
Ovarian stimulation during an IVF cycle helps increase the number of eggs developed and the chance of a successful pregnancy. Before, during, and after ovarian stimulation, your San Antonio fertility doctors will be carefully monitoring ovarian response to the stimulation to ensure the best possible outcome.
Before ovarian stimulation for IVF, your fertility specialist will have completed testing – bloodwork and ultrasounds – to determine which types and doses of medications the ovaries should respond best to. Some protocols involve using medications to suppress overactivity of the ovary before ovarian stimulation. Others use medications to prevent egg development from happening before the stimulation is ready to begin.
During ovarian stimulation for IVF, our San Antonio fertility doctors will use prescription medications to increase the number of eggs that grow and mature, by stimulating follicle development. Follicles, which are fluid-filled spaces in the ovary, are developing a microscopic egg on the inside.
There are many types of medications that can be used for ovarian stimulation, different brands and doses, but they commonly do one of three things:
- encourage the available follicles to grow
- prevent the follicles from releasing eggs too soon
- signaling to the follicle for final egg maturation prior to an egg retrieval
By measuring the follicle growth by ultrasound and hormone levels by blood testing, our fertility specialists then determine the optimal time to retrieve the eggs from the ovary, usually after 8-14 days of stimulation.
After ovarian stimulation, the ovaries take a week or two to reduce to their pre-stimulation size. Rarely, other medications may be used in cases of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, a condition where high hormone levels can cause problems with fluid overload, blood flow, and pelvic discomfort. Thankfully this condition is uncommon with modern advances in medications and protocols designed for women at high risk.
Ovarian stimulation for IVF helps increase the chances of a successful cycle
Unlike a natural menstrual cycle, where only one egg develops and releases, the outcome of an IVF stimulation is usually several mature eggs, increasing the chances of a healthy single pregnancy from that cycle, and a lower risk of a complicated multiple gestation (twins, triplets or more). The number of eggs from ovarian stimulation for IVF depends on the patient’s age and ovarian reserve. Some people can even get enough eggs during one ovarian stimulation for IVF that it eliminates the need for them to do other stimulations for future pregnancies!
Close monitoring and careful management are essential for any successful IVF cycle. With proper care and attention, our San Antonio fertility specialists can help guide you through an ovarian stimulation for IVF with the best possible chances of a successful pregnancy. Contact us today to get started with IVF.