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Ovulation Induction

Induction and Timing of Ovulation

One of the most important steps in IVF involves obtaining eggs immediately prior to ovulation. Patients are prescribed ovulation-inducing medications (e.g. Repronex, Gonal F, Follistim, etc.) to promote the simultaneous maturation of eggs.

Patients typically begin taking ovulation-inducing medications within the first six days of their natural menstrual cycle, depending on its typical length. Three or four days later, we initiate blood tests for estrogen and a transvaginal ultrasound. These are repeated as needed to follow follicle growth and development.

At home, the patient or her partner will give injectable ovulation-inducing medications. Nurses will teach them how to administer the injections with the dosage based on the results of that day’s blood test results. The results are usually available from 1 to 4 p.m., and medications are generally taken from 6 to 11 p.m. On weekends, patients are called between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m with instructions. When the follicle grows to a certain size and blood estrogen levels reach a necessary value, in the evening the female patient is injected subcutaneously with the hormone hCG to prepare for the egg retrieval, which occurs approximately 36 hours later.

Note: A recent study has raised the possibility of a link between ovulation-inducing agents and an increased risk of ovarian carcinoma. Similar studies have not demonstrated this association.

More information about ovulation induction and fertility medications can be found in For Current Patients.