FAQ on Fertility Injections: Your Most Pressing Questions Answered

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12:06 pm October 24, 2011

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One way of curing infertility is the use of fertility injections. When the use of fertility drugs proves futile, doctors may prescribe injectable hormones that they believe are more potent than oral medication. But how do fertility injections really work? Are they really helpful? And isn’t there a good risk of negative side effects? These questions and more are all answered here.

What are they?

Fertility injections are injections that contain hormones that help you increase your chances of conceiving faster. They are given on the first day of your cycle until the next 12 days until the expected date of ovulation. It is easy to use fertility injections. You or your partner can administer them to yourself by injecting the hormones right under the skin or straight into the thigh or butt muscles.

Can everyone use them?

Actually, no, not everyone can use them. Women with the following conditions cannot use fertility injections: asthma, kidney disorders, ovarian cysts, ovarian cancer, heart disease, allergic reaction to synthetic hormones, and migraines. Women who are already pregnant or breastfeeding also are not allowed to use fertility injections, along with women who are using chaste tree berry, black cohosh, and blue cohosh extracts because the medicine reacts negatively with these herbal treatments.

How do they work?

Many infertility problems happen because the woman’s body fails to naturally produce the hormones needed to induce ovulation and cause pregnancy. Fertility injections then take the place of the body’s natural producers to provide the needed amount of hormones, including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Are there no risks for negative side effects?

Unfortunately, fertility injections are riskier than fertility drugs. One negative side effect of using them is the possibility for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). There are many unpleasant symptoms of this disorder, including feeling bloated, putting on actual weight, swelling in the extremities, pain the stomach or pelvic area, vomiting, shortness of breath, and pain in urinating. If these appear in you, you should consult your doctor immediately. There is also evidence that women who take injections have more chances of contracting ovarian cancer, but more research is needed to verify this claim.

What about multiple births?

Research found that one in three women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and were given fertility injections during the first part of their cycle gave birth to multiples. This is because the hormones often stimulate the release of more than one egg cell at a time. For some couples, there is no problem with conceiving twins and triplets as long as they are ready for it. However, higher order multiple births, such as quadruplets and quintuplets are not only more difficult to manage, they also pose a higher risk for miscarriage.

Should we rather not take them?

A study done by researchers at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock medical center shows that there is no significant difference in the success rate of women who took fertility drugs then opted for assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments than women who were given fertility injections first between the two kinds of treatments. The first group had a success rate of 73 percent, while the second was only slightly higher at 78 percent. At the high cost of using injections, the measly difference doesn’t seem to be worth it. The researchers recommend to go for ART right away.

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