Ovarian stimulation using pharmaceutical medication is a customized treatment for each couple in order to achieve the best possible results and to avoid complications.
Women who follow an ovarian stimulation program continue their daily activities normally. Controlled ovarian stimulation is achieved with the application of a special stimulation protocol, the choice of which is tailor-made to fit the couple’s needs.
In general, the drugs used in ovarian stimulation protocols are:
There are various gonadotropin medications depending on different hormones (FSH, LH, or a combination of them) and their origin (recombinant or human / purified).
There are two basic types of GnRH analogues (agonists and antagonists), which differ in the length of time needed to achieve the desired suppression. The analogues are administered daily at about the same time, in the form of subcutaneous injections, or rarely as inhaled drugs.
There are several protocols of controlled ovarian stimulation, which differ as to when to start hormonal suppression with the administration of analogues, such as:
For any woman undergoing ovarian stimulation, the close monitoring by the attending physician with successive ultrasounds and measurements of blood estrogens is absolutely crucial.
The required medication which is used in the Assisted Reproduction Therapies has a significantly high cost and consequently, many times the couples are concerned about this extra cost. However, through the ΕΟΠΥΥ (National Organization of Health Services Provision), each insured woman can be provided with these medical supplies free of charge, after applying to a special Committee.
In the majority of women who take medication for ovarian stimulation in order to attempt an IVF cycle, the hormone intake does not cause any special problem. A small percentage of women may develop slight swelling or small retention, which are bearable symptoms of no significant evaluation.
The association of IVF medication with the risk of cancer development is the greatest concern of the women who participate in these programs. However, a great wealth of bibliography references which have been collated from reliable scientific studies and have been published in prestigious medical journals globally are reassuring and do not verify such worries.