Gonadotropins Hormones

What are gonadotropins?

Gonadotropins are hormones that are injected for treating male and female infertility. Gonadotropins help females in their ovulation and men for improving the number of sperm.

 Gonadotropins success rate?

Nearly up to 85% of females having ovulation problems may start ovulating after the use of gonadotropins. About 23% of women having clomiphene-resistant PCOS may achieve pregnancy by using gonadotropins, and nearly 20% may give a live birth.

Other reasons that may affect your pregnancy are: 

Gonadotropins are generally used in IVF procedure as they help in commanding the growth of mature eggs and their release from the ovaries to increase your chances of achieving pregnancy.

Are gonadotropins the right choice for me?

You are possibly offered these hormonal medicines, if you:

In case your spouse’s hormones have gone imbalanced and resulted in low sperm count or affected the quality of his sperm or their motility, he may be recommended gonadotropins.

Consult your doctor about the possibility of achieving success with by using these hormonal medicines. In case you are buying these medicines, you should have a clear idea of the cost of these drugs. Thus, you will be able to weigh the pluses and minuses of using these medications before you start the treatment.

 How do the gonadotropins work?

The Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing hormone (LH) are two essential hormones that help in inducing ovulation.

Gonadotropins are hormones available in the form of injections. They help in stimulating your ovaries for producing and ripening your eggs.

The kinds of gonadotropins that are being used for a long, long time have both LH and FSH. And, they are known as Human-Menopausal Gonadotropins (hMG).

Some medications, like follitropins, that are available these days have FSH, only in the purified form. There is hardly any evidence that may suggest you that one kind of gonadotropin works better than the other kinds for stimulating your ovaries and producing mature eggs, though their costs and availability are extremely variable.

You are, at times, given gonadotropins in combination with one more hormone, known as Human-Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG). The combination of hormones helps in completing the last phase of egg ripening and prompting ovulation.

For how long do I need gonadotropins treatment?

Your treatment may begin at any period of time when you are not going through ovulation. Your doses of injections may continue every day for nearly 12 days every month, depending on how your reproductive system is responding to the treatment and how long it is taking for ripening your eggs.

Your doctor may like teaching you on how to take injections yourself to save on your travel time for visiting the Clinic daily for this purpose. In case you have any apprehension about injecting yourself, you may offer your spouse/partner for learning the technique.

While you are taking a daily dose of these hormonal injections, your doctor may like monitoring your reproductive system to know when you are going to ovulate. This would entail going through the drill of regular ultrasound scans for checking your ovaries.

These ultrasound scans are performed with a probe placed in through your vagina and does not normally cause any kind of discomfort. You may also be asked to give your blood samples for testing your hormonal levels.

Once the mature eggs are seen in the ultrasound scan, an hCG injection is given to you for activating ovulation. Ovulation generally takes place within 24 or 36 hours after giving you the injection.

You and your spouse are advised to time your copulation immediately after the injection. In case you are going for the IVF procedure, the procedure of egg collection is scheduled after 36 hours of giving you the injection.

In case you have been taking the Gonadotropins injections for treating your ovulation disorder, you may utmost be given the medication for 3 to 6 drug cycles.

There is no likelihood of improved chances in success rates, if you use these hormonal drugs for a longer period. If your attempts of getting pregnant using these drugs have not yielded positive results, your doctor may like either increasing the dose or suggesting a different kind of treatment.

Side-effects of gonadotropins?

There is a possibility of your experiencing one or more symptoms mentioned below:

  • Frequent headaches coupled with fever
  • Eruption of allergy to the medications
  • Stomach upset
  • Joint pains
  • Reaction or discomfort around the injection site

Earlier, the Gonadotropins injections used to be given into the muscle directly, preferably in the thigh, and it required a long needle. It used to be a painful and difficult process.

The purer and newer version of gonadotropins are injected conveniently with smaller needles under the skin and they cause a very few side-effects.

Using these fertility medications may give you an emotionally down feeling. Moreover, they require a close and frequent observation of their effects on your reproductive system.

You run a greater risk of developing Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) while taking gonadotropins, particularly hCG. Your ovaries may swell to acquire an ample proportion, maybe several times than the usual size and also seep out fluid down into the abdominal cavity.

Some other symptoms of the OHSS are generally mild. They are:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating, and
  • Mild abdominal pain

The severity of OHSS is indicated by:

  • Unexpected, hurting pain in the belly
  • Thirsty feelings and dehydration
  • Vomiting

In case in the scan your ovaries are seen to be developing several eggs, you are advised to refrain from having sex or exercise vigorously.  This helps in avoiding the risk of damage to your inflamed ovaries.

If you are making an effort to achieve pregnancy through IVF or any other Assisted Reproductive Technology, it may be disappointing for you as you may have to abandon the treatment cycle.

It is better to be cautious, as with too many eggs developing in your ovaries, you run a risk of multiple pregnancies, which will, in fact, lead to certain complications not only for you but also for your babies.

What more I should be familiar with about gonadotropins?

Before taking the Gonadotropins treatments, you should be familiar with the risks involved in these. OHSS may happen despite the best kind of supervision of the doctors.

About 1/3rd of IVF cycles get affected with gentle OHSS. Between 3% and 8% IVF cycles get affected by severe or moderate OHSS.  The severity of OHSS may depend on the kind and doses of fertility drugs you have used.

If you happen to be afflicted with PCOS, there is one in three probabilities of multiple pregnancies after using Gonadotropins fertility drugs.

Apparently, the fertility drugs, like hMG, do not significantly enhance your risk of having cancer afterwards in your life.

It is a general perception in the medical fraternity that the fundamental reasons of infertility, like endometriosis, are seen as higher risk factors for certain long-term issues, rather than the medications used for treating them.

There is hardly any evidence to suggest that the fertility drugs affect the development of the offspring born with their use.

However, you are advised to take the lowest possible effective dose of these fertility drugs and for the shortest period possible. This helps in reducing the risk of getting side effects, like OHSS, and the hidden complications, like multiple pregnancies.

  1. January 6, 2017

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