1. The right dose
To be effective, the medication prescribed must be the correct dose. There are general guidelines the doctor will refer to when initially prescribing fertility drugs, but each patient is unique, and the exact dose may need to be adjusted. For example, certain ovary stimulants are usually started at 50mg per day for 5 days. However, if ovulation doesn’t happen when expected, the doctor may increase the dose up to 150mg to increase effectiveness. During the IVF cycle, women should keep up with any recommended bloodwork so that problems can be identified early on and dosages correctly modified.
2. Timing matters
With IVF, very specific steps must be taken at each stage of the menstrual cycle. Some medications, like birth control, need to be started before the period to help regulate the cycle but can prevent pregnancy if not stopped on time. Another drug called a trigger shot is essential in helping the ovaries release mature eggs before retrieval. This medication is typically injected between days 8-12 of the IVF cycle and must take place exactly 36 hours before retrieval. Delaying the shot even just a few hours can make the entire cycle less effective.
3. Correct prescription
If a single medication cured infertility in all women, the process would be much more straightforward. The reality is that each patient has a different infertility diagnosis and should therefore have a specific treatment plan. Certain medications that may help with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), for example, may not work for a patient with unexplained infertility. Patients should thoroughly discuss the treatment plan and exact medications needed before any prescriptions are sent to the pharmacy to be filled.
When picking the prescription up, a pharmacist can help answer any additional questions patients may have. For example, women may wonder whether certain medications must be stored in the refrigerator or out of direct sunlight. Other patients may have questions about possible interactions between fertility drugs and current prescriptions or supplements. Still, others may need support figuring out how to inject the medications with minimal pain and anxiety. Although the fertility doctor should be available for such questions, the pharmacist is another excellent resource for any lingering concerns.
Fertility drugs play an essential role in overall IVF success. Patients should be given the correct prescription at the right dose and provided with precise instructions about when and how to take the medication. Women undergoing IVF should feel confident in the medication protocol.