Stimulation Medications


What You Need to Know About Hormone Stimulation Medication

During monthly ovulation, ONE mature egg ovulates, while the rest of the eggs are reabsorbed into back the body. The goal of egg freezing is to produce and bank as many eggs as possible, you will be prescribed a cocktail of hormone stimulation medications to:
1) hyper-activate egg production
2) ensure eggs are not released too early
 3) trigger ovulation

the shots are not that bad – the hard part is dealing with all the emotional stuff

Stimulation drugs (Agonists)

Gonadotropins: Luteinizing hormone (LH)
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
What do they do? Encourage ovaries to increase egg production
When do I take them? Daily starting on Day 1 or 2 of your period until day 8 or later
How are they administered? Subcutaneously in the stomach or thigh
What is commonly prescribed? Follistim, Gonal-F, Repronex, Bravelle
Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) Agonists
What do they do? Prevent hormonal surge of FSH and LH
When do I take them? Daily starting on Day 1 or 2 of your period until day 8 or later
How are they administered? Subcutaneously in the stomach or thigh What is commonly prescribed? Lupron (leuprolide acetate), Synarel and Zoladex.

Stimulation drugs (Agonists)

What do they do? Prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs prior to retrieval
When do I start? Daily starting at Day 4- 6
Where do I inject it? Subcutaneously in the stomach or thigh
What is commonly prescribed? Ganirelix, Antagon, Cetrotide

Trigger Shot

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
What does it do? Prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs too early
When do I start? Approximately 36 hours prior to egg retrieval
Where do I inject it? Intramuscularly in buttocks, thigh or upper arm
What is commonly prescribed? Pregnyl and Novarel

Commonly Asked Stimulation Medication Questions

Hormone medication can make up ⅓ or more of the overall cost of egg freezing cost – between $2,000-4,000. If you plan ahead and take time to shop around, you can save a significant amount.
  • Buy generic: ask your clinic for the generic names of all the drugs. You don’t need to pay non-generic prices.
  • Shop around: Drug prices can vary insanely from pharmacy to pharmacy. Online comparison tools, like GoodRX, make comparison shopping easy and often offer online coupons.
  • Order Online: After shopping around, Avella Speciality Pharmacy had the most competitive prices.  Avella  specializes in fertility and has very knowledgable customer service reps.
  • Buy Internationally: Medication purchased in the UK or Israel is significantly cheaper. However, you need to plan very early as drugs can sometimes be stuck in customs.

Why can’t I do any high impact exercise while taking stimulation medication?

It is recommended that you stick with low impact exercises that keep your heart rate under 140. Your ovaries will become extremely enlarged during stimulation and high impact activities could harm your egg development. Also, you could make yourself susceptible to ovarian torsion, or twisting of the ovaries. If this were to occur (most likely from high impact activities), the ovary would have to be surgically repaired and worst-case scenario be removed.

How do I administer the hormone shots?

Your clinic will give you detailed instructions on when and how to administer your shots.  Needles are relatively small, however if you have needle anxiety you can ice or use a numbing cream like EMLA.
Most women give themselves the injections – except for the final trigger shot. However, if you are opposed to administering the injections by yourself recruit a BFF or egg freezing cycle buddy or alternatively hire a private nurse to come to your home or office.

Why is my drug protocol different from my friend’s?

Because every woman responds differently to stimulation medication, every drug protocol is unique. Your doctor will closely monitor your follicle growth and tweak your medications to ensure you are able to freeze a good quantity of high quality eggs.

What are the most common side effects of stimulation medication?

Because hormone stimulation medication hyper-activates the development of multiple follicles, most women experience bloating, abdominal discomfort and weight gain. These symptoms will, most likely, increase in intensity the day or two prior to your retrieval when your eggs are at their largest and most mature. It typically takes a few days post procedure for your bloating to dissipate.

Is there anything I can do to lessen my bloating post procedure?

Fluids, fluids, fluids. Be sure to drink a lot of water, coconut water or other clear fluids to reduce bloating. Also, taking whey protein powder or upping your protein