Hormones are vital chemical substances that travel in your bloodstream to regulate particular organs, tissues and many body systems such as the reproductive system. If the level of a specific hormone is off, one will experience a hormonal imbalance or deficiency, consequently, infertility can occur. Dealing with infertility is a difficult task, thus it’s advisable to seek medical help if a couple has tried to conceive for over one year without any success. The physician may prescribe fertility shots to get pregnant.
What are Fertility Shots?
They are medications which contain man-made hormones and they are used to restore fertility and administered either:
- Intramuscularly – the medicine is injected directly into your muscle
- Subcutaneously – the drug is injected into the fat deposits, just below the skin
When oral drugs, for example, Clomid and Femara fail to lead to a viable pregnancy, the next step is to use fertility injections. There are many shots for fertility and the dose varies from one patient to another, depending on why a woman is having difficulties getting pregnant. If going through assisted reproductive technology, such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination, you may require a few hormone shots for infertility with each fertility cycle. One may feel anxious getting ready for a series of injections during fertility remedy; air your anxiety to the medical care provider. Inquire if the hospital offers a class on how to give the injections. Additionally, seek to understand the fertility cycle you will undergo and the shots to be given; this will help the patient to be prepared and feel relaxed.
The procedure of giving the fertility shot is simple, thus it’s easier to learn. It can be tedious to travel to the doctor’s office to get the injections. If not ready to self-administer the shots, a loved one like a spouse may be trained to give them at home. Some fertility clinics give handouts and recorded videos for a patient to refer to if uncertain how to carry out the shots. Remember to adhere to the dosing instructions and discard the needles properly in special containers; if the needles are not disposed of well, they may injure family members. After use, store the drugs in their proper environment; some need to be stored in the refrigerator, refer to the medical care provider for more information about storage.
Types of Fertility Injections
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) – the medicines under this category are Lupron, Buserelin, Nafarelin and Synarel and they have a similar structure to gonadotropin-releasing hormone. The pituitary gland releases hormones which stimulate the growth and development of an egg. The shots are given to prevent the release of an egg before maturity. The initial effect of the drug triggers the pituitary gland to produce more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Eventually, GnRHa blocks the production of LH and FSH, estrogen production is reduced in women and premature ovulation is prevented.
- GnRH Antagonist (Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist) – Ganirelix, Cetrotide, and Orgalutron belong to this class of medication. GnRHa works by stimulating the pituitary gland for a number of days before suppressing it, and this can cause some problems for some women, for example, development of cysts in the ovary and this may postpone the start of fertility medications. On the other hand, the GnRH antagonist works rapidly (the suppression of the pituitary gland occurs immediately) and this shortens the number of days a female takes the injections. GnRH is used in women going through controlled ovarian stimulation (COS); this technique is mainly used during IVF to prevent the body from producing FSH and LH, hence the eggs mature properly.
- FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) such as Bravelle, Follistim, and Gonal-F. These medications are recommended for females whose ovaries work, although the eggs don’t mature regularly. The drugs stimulate the development of follicles and eggs in a woman who is infertile due to challenges with ovulation. In men, FSH is used in the development and production of sperm in the testicles. In short, it increases sperm production in a man who has low sperm count because of low hormone levels. FSH can be combined with HCG shots for fertility to raise testosterone production in the testicles and allow the FSH to work effectively.
- Human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG) like Menopur and Repronex. HMG is a combination of FSH and LH. It’s used when a female’s ovaries can produce a follicle, but there is hormonal stimulation deficiency. In males, it stimulates sperm production in men struggling with infertility.
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for example, Pregnyl, Novarel, and Ovidrel – The HCG shots fertility treatment benefits both men and women. In men, HCG injections boost testosterone production and sperm count. In women, it causes ovulation. If your fertility treatment entails fertility shots and IUI (intrauterine insemination), timing ovulation is important. After the HCG injection, IUI procedure is carried out within 36 hours. Before receiving the HCG shot, a woman may be treated with HMG, FSH or any other fertility medications prescribed by the medical care provider and it is given as a single dose.
- Testosterone shots -In men, low testosterone can lead to erectile dysfunction, thus testosterone shots and fertility are closely associated; testosterone is important for sperm production.
Like other medicines, while on the injections, you may encounter side effects of fertility shots, for example:
- Ovarian hyperstimulation
- Pregnancy with multiples
- Long-term risks of ovarian tumors
- Increased incident of miscarriage or premature delivery
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Pain, swelling, irritation and swelling at the injection spot
Some fertility shots side effects may clear on their own after a few days, in case they persist or become bothersome, seek medical attention. While on the fertility treatment, the doctor closely monitors the progress through blood tests and ultrasounds to ensure the medications are working as expected and to detect some unwanted effects. Bear in mind these tests will add cost to the fertility therapy.
Are you asking yourself, how much do fertility shots cost? The injections are successful in dealing with infertility. Many couples have managed to start their families with these medications. It’s advisable to be prepared financially for the cost of fertility shots because they are a bit expensive. If possible, before starting any fertility treatment, a patient needs to have saved money. Inquire from the fertility expert the amount of money the fertility treatment can cost. You can take advantage of health insurance plans; some may pay for the costs involved, but others won’t so find out the fertility expense which may be catered by the insurance.
Thanks to technology, you can buy fertility shots online and the medicines are delivered according to the specifications.