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The Center for Fertility and Gynecology

The Side Effects of Fertility Drugs for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

By Michael Vermesh on June 15, 2014

A woman smiling in her apartmentWhen it comes to improving chances for successful pregnancy, it's important that you speak with reproductive health experts. The team here at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology will be happy to answer any questions that you may have and address any concerns. This commitment to information has made us one of the leaders in fertility treatments in Tarzana, Encino, and the greater Los Angeles area.

In vitro fertilization (IVF), one of the most effective options out there for addressing male and female infertility. During one stage of IVF treatment, it's necessary for a woman to take fertility medication to increase her chances of success. Let's take a moment right now to consider the side effects of fertility drugs.

Why Fertility Drugs Are Used During In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

During in vitro fertilization (IVF), mature eggs will need to be taken from a woman in order for them to be fertilized. In order to ensure the quality and maturity of the eggs, fertility drugs are taken. These fertility drugs will allow multiple eggs to mature during ovulation, which increases the chances of success for the entire IVF process. Without the use of fertility drugs, only one egg will be able to mature. In addition, fertility drugs will prevent early release of mature eggs or trigger the timed release of mature eggs.

Two of the most common fertility drugs used during IVF are Clomid (clomiphene citrate) and gonadotropins.

Common Side Effects from the Use of Clomid

The following side effects are common following the use of Clomid, and thankfully they are mild in nature:

  • Headaches
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Hot flashes
  • Blurry or hazy vision

Possible Side Effects from the Use of Gonadotropins

Gonadotropins are used to help trigger the release of mature eggs. Some potential serious side effects from the use of these fertility drugs include:

  • Increased chance of multiple births (i.e., twins, triplets)
  • Ectopic pregnancies (i.e., egg implants in the fallopian tubes rather than uterus)
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) (i.e., enlarged ovaries and fluid accumulation)

Dealing with These Side Effects

Thankfully the above side effects for Clomid tend to be easy to deal with. They are temporary and manageable, and no major treatment is required to deal with them as the side effects will pass in just a few days.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is also temporary and manageable and requires no major medical intervention, though the condition will persist for about a week or two weeks rather than just a few days. Sometimes medication may be given to reduce the severity of OHSS symptoms when a patient is undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

With regard to ectopic pregnancies, it's important for the egg implanted in the fallopian tube to be removed through surgery since it can prove a major health issue. Thankfully ectopic pregnancy is rare.

Schedule a Consultation for Fertility Treatment

If you would like to learn more about in vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as your many other options for advanced care, we encourage you to contact our reproductive medicine and fertility treatment specialists today. The entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you start the family that you have always wanted.

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