The brain’s effect on fertility
Let’s start by first understanding how the brain is connected to reproduction. There is an area in the brain called the hypothalamus which releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone in pulses. These pulses stimulate another part of the brain called the pituitary to release follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These two hormones stimulate estrogen and progesterone production in the ovaries and play an essential role in helping mature and ovulate eggs each cycle.
How do GnRH agonists work?
GnRH agonists are a type of fertility drug that mimics the body’s natural gonadotropin-releasing hormone. When used correctly, GnRH agonists cause the body to produce higher amounts of FSH and LH, then stop the production of these hormones completely. This prevents the body from ovulating naturally, allowing a fertility doctor to stimulate ovulation and retrieve eggs at an optimal time artificially. Hot flashes, decreased libido, spotting, mood swings, headache, fatigue, and vaginal dryness are all reported side effects of GnRH agonists. However, as soon as the medication is discontinued, hormone production returns to normal and side effects stop soon after that.
Missed dose, missed opportunity
Since precise hormone control is one of the main goals of GnRH use, missing a dose can affect the success of the procedure. If the body’s natural hormones are not suppressed on time, premature LH surge and ovulation may occur, affecting the egg retrieval process. Although the cycle may not be completely ruined if a dose is missed, less eggs may be retrieved. Taking this medication as directed during an IVF treatment can optimize the chances of success. Don’t let a missed dose be a missed opportunity.
Use as directed for best results
GnRH agonists are a helpful tool that allows fertility doctors to have control over hormone levels during the egg retrieval process. This type of intervention can help optimize the IVF experience, allowing more eggs to be retrieved from a single cycle. Each patient’s medication regimen will be slightly different, but in all cases the GnRH agonist should be taken exactly as directed. Following the instructions provided by the fertility clinic can increase the odds of a successful IVF procedure.