When you are trying to conceive, hormone injections can aid in the process, whether they are given as a part of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle or used along with intercourse. These medications help your body prepare for and maintain a pregnancy.
Hormone Injection Therapy
Injections are prescribed for women who have certain health conditions that may contribute to their problems becoming or staying pregnant, which might include:
- Ovulation problems
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Thyroid disorder
- Eating disorders
- Weight problems, due to being overweight or underweight
- Excess prolactin or problems with luteinizing hormone (LH) or follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels
Fertility Drugs Used For Hormone Injection
During the course of each cycle when you attempt to become pregnant, you may take several types of hormone injections of different medications. The hormone injections might be injected into the muscle (intramuscular) or the fat deposits under your skin (subcutaneous).
- Progesterone: Many women are unable to carry a pregnancy to term because the uterine lining sheds prematurely due to a lack of progesterone. Hormone injections of this chemical administered intramuscularly or vaginally will help maintain high levels of progesterone in the blood.
- Clomiphene citrate: Sold under the brand name Clomid or Serephene, clomiphene citrate is the most commonly prescribed fertility drug. Prescribed for women who ovulate irregularly or not at all, Clomid stimulates the pituitary gland to produce more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to produce more eggs. In 80% of cases, the drug works and 50% of women become pregnant within six months.
- Gonadatrophins: Given when Clomid doesn’t work, these medications both stimulate the ovaries and promote the development of mature healthy eggs. Administered through either intramuscular or subcutaneous hormone injections, gonadotrophins fall into several categories:
- FSH helps control the menstrual cycle and the production of eggs in women and help controls the production of sperm in man.
- Follicle stimulating hormones with luteinizing hormone (FSH/LH) provides the maximum stimulation to ovulation.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH), another secretion from the pituitary gland, also regulates the menstrual cycle in a production environment, while stimulating testosterone production in men.
Some forms of these drugs known as human chorionic gonadatrophin or hCG work quickly to help the follicles mature and release eggs, within 36 to 48 hours after administration.
- Prolactin inhibitors: When high prolactin production gets in the way of ovulation, drugs, such as Bromocriptine (Parlodel) or Cabergoline (Dostinex) reduce prolactin production to induce ovulation.
- Gonadatrophin-releasing hormones or GnRH, such as Factrel or Lutrepulse, are administered through a pump that releases the drugs into the bloodstream every 60 to 90 seconds to increase production of FSH and LH.
Many of these drugs are prescribed in conjunction with sexual activity in an attempt to assist the normal process. When the goal is to prepare the body for IVF, additional drugs are prescribed to regulate or halt the production of FSH and/ LH.
Developing the Right Program of Hormone Injections
If you are having problems conceiving, hormone injections may be right for you. While many unregulated drugs of this type are available abroad, it is important to work with your doctor to develop a program of legal hormone injection drugs for you. If you are having fertility issues and are considering hormone injections, consult Rocky Mountain Women’s Health Center to learn more.