Jul 01 2016

IVF Stimulation and Birth Control Pills: Understanding the Link


A woman holding a birth control pillPatients who come to the Centre for Reproductive Medicine can count on our team to provide answers to questions about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other fertility treatments. This sense of trust is what has made our practice a leader in assisted reproduction in the greater Lubbock area.

While going over the IVF process, one of the questions we get often get involves birth control. As it turns out, birth control pills may be a key part off preparing for fertility treatment. Confused? No worries. Let's see why patients may need birth control medication to make IVF work for them.

How Birth Control Pills Typically Work

To understand why birth control pill are used at the beginning of IVF, it's important to consider the basics of birth control pills and how they work.

Birth control pills prevent pregnancy by stopping women from ovulating. There are other mechanisms involved, but this is the most important of them. By preventing the release of an egg from the ovaries, sperm is unable to fertilize a viable egg following intercourse. This is typically the result of the pill preventing the peak of estrogen during a woman's monthly cycle.

Birth Control to Help with In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Prep

It does seem like a contradiction, but birth control is often given to women in the lead up to IVF. This typically means increasing the number if healthy and viable eggs to pick from during the IVF process once it's initiated. Yet in the lead up to the IVF procedure, there are two important reasons why birth control pills are helpful:

  • Birth control pills will regulate a woman's hormone levels, which means higher chances of success when the IVF treatment starts and when women are given fertility drugs to stimulate ovaries and to trigger ovulation.

  • Taking birth control pills at specific times can help with proper scheduling of an IVF treatment, ensuring that the IVF process is performed at an opportune time.

How Long Will I Need to Take Birth Control?

This can vary from patient to patient. Sometimes a woman only needs to take birth control pills for a few weeks leading into IVF treatment. In other cases, a woman may be asked to take birth control for a few months.

The timing and duration of birth control use will really depend on the cause of infertility as well as the unique body chemistry and physiological needs of the patient. During a consultation at our practice, we can offer an honest assessment about this process, the duration, and what to expect.

Potential Side Effects of Birth Control Use

Some common side effects from the use of birth control pills includes the following:

  • Spotting
  • Nausea
  • Breast sensitivity
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings/changes
  • Weight gain/fluctuations
  • Changes in libido
  • Missed or irregular periods
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Changes in vision

We can go over other side effects regarding birth control and other medications used during the IVF process when you are at the practice.

Guiding You Through Every Step of the IVF Cycle

You'll notice our focus on patient education, providing information on the side effects and other issues associated with IVF treatment. We believe that a well-informed patient is a happy patient, and we will work diligently to ensure that any and all questions a patient may have are answered.

Learn More About Fertility Treatment Options

To learn more about IVF and other assisted reproduction treatments that can help you start a family, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. We at the Centre for Reproductive Medicine are here to help you start the family you have always wanted.

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The Centre for Reproductive Medicine
Lubbock Office

Address: 3405 22nd St Ste 300
Lubbock, TX 79410

Phone: (806) 788-1212