The role of medication in IVF
During in vitro fertilization, a woman is given medication to control the cycle, regulate hormones, and stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. Oral contraceptives, gonadotropins, ovulatory stimulants, and progestins are a few examples of medications that may be used. When enough eggs are available, extraction occurs. The eggs are then combined with sperm to make an embryo that will be transferred into the uterus. Taking medications on time and as directed is the best way to guarantee that an IVF cycle will result in pregnancy.
Leaving on a jet plane
Getting to a vacation destination can often be the most complicated part of travel. This is especially true when fertility medications are part of the equation. Airlines may have different rules about traveling with medication, so the patient should investigate before departure. In most cases, medications can be carried on or checked. However, carry-on is preferred in case the medication is needed during the flight or if the luggage is lost. Liquid medication will need to be examined by a security officer at the screening checkpoint.
Going abroad with drugs
If the final destination is international, additional considerations may be required. Each country has different laws about drugs, and the consequences of violating the laws can include confiscation or jail time. Check with the embassy in the destination country for the most up-to-date information about medications permitted. A doctor’s note can also help in some cases.
Occasionally, a medication may go missing or become unusable for several reasons. In this case, the fertility patient must seek a replacement as soon as possible. Local pharmacies may carry the same prescription and are a good place to start. However, the patient will also want to contact the fertility clinic back home for guidance. Often times the replacement available may be a different dose or brand and will not work correctly. The fertility doctor can best advise on what to do if medication goes missing.
A time zone dilemma
Although a trip around the world may sound relaxing, an important consideration is the time zone. If a patient needs to take a medication at a certain time every night, some math is required to calculate the comparable local time. This may mean that a dose usually taken at dinnertime ends up being administered in the middle of the night. Keeping medications on schedule is the best way to guarantee egg growth and IVF success.
Although a trip during IVF is possible, patients need to plan ahead for stress-free travel. Always check the rules for the airline and the destination country when traveling with drugs. Have a plan B ready in case something happens to the medication packed for the trip. Talk to a doctor about shifting injection times to a new time zone if needed. With enough planning, a vacation doesn’t have to interrupt IVF. If all goes according to plan, a patient will be packing diapers and bottles, not medication, soon enough.