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The IVF Fertility Blog

What Are The Side Effects of Fertility Medications?

Before beginning any fertility treatment, it is important to understand the potential side effects.  Side effects during fertility care are common, but are often minor.   Knowing what to expect can help avoid stress and anxiety about how you are feeling during treatment.

Taking medication to regulate or stimulate ovulation is common while undergoing fertility treatment.  Reported side effects from regularly prescribed fertility medication include:

Clomid – Clomid is used to stimulate ovulation. As a result multiple eggs may mature.  If natural conception is attempted or an insemination is performed, multiple eggs may  fertilize producing twins, triplets or high-order multiples.  Additionally, patients have reported mood swings and headaches.

Lupron – Lupron may be used during cycles where in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is done.  Lupron suppresses the body’s natural hormones temporarily putting a woman into a menopause-like state.  Some of the side effects include those commonly experienced by menopausal women:
    • Mood swings
    • Hot flashes
    • Headaches
    • Insomnia
    • Vaginal dryness
Follicle Stimulating Hormones (FSH) – FSH is given to stimulate egg production. Common minor side effects are weight gain, mood swings and headaches.   In the event you experience any of the following, contact your physician immediately as they may be indicative of a larger issue: fertility side effects
    • Vomiting
    • Nausea
    • Abdominal discomfort
    • Pain that does not cease when changing positions
FSH can also cause ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS).  In a patient with OHSS, the ovaries swell and sometimes leak fluid into the abdomen. While most cases of OHSS are mild, and resolve within a week, serious complications can occur.  Symptoms of extreme OHSS include shortness of breath, bloating and weight gain.

Progesterone – Progesterone is an important hormone during pregnancy.  During early pregnancy, progesterone made by the mother’s body maintains the lining of the uterus to support the fetus.  Progesterone is typically prescribed during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy to supplement what the body makes naturally.  At about seven to ten weeks the placenta takes over the job of producing hormone.  Progesterone can cause headaches, bloating, weight gain and irritability.

It is important to note that no two patients will have the same experience while taking fertility medication.  Some women will experience little to no side effects while others may experience several.  In fact, the same woman may have very different experiences during different cycles.  Side effects such as headaches are typically managed well with over the counter pain relievers like Acetaminophen. For patients experiencing mood swings, being aware that the hormones are having an effect on your personality may help you cope.  However, if these mood changes are affecting your daily life, please contact your health care provider immediately.

There is one side effect that all of our patients welcome with open arms: pregnancy.

If you have questions about fertility treatments, possible side effects or to learn more about how our physicians can help you achieve your dream of parenthood, contact us today.  Since 2004 New Hope Fertility Center has treated the unique needs of our patients.

NHFC Consultation Natural Cycle IVF

Topics: IVF Medication, Medication, Mini-IVF, Fertility Medication

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