Why is birth control used during IVF treatment?
Are you wondering why birth control is used in IVF treatment? When your doctor instructs you to take birth control, it may initially seem counterintuitive. Here’s why it’s used during IVF…
Almost since the beginning of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment, birth control pills have been used to prepare patients for their IVF cycles.
Here’s the main reasons why:
The first reason you’re prescribed birth control pills as part of your IVF treatment, is because doctors are trying to ‘quiet’ down your ovaries before they stimulate them.
Leading up to the stimulation process, they will give you a birth control pill to pause your ovaries and stop them from producing any follicles or eggs (this will continue until stimulation medication starts).
Can they use other things besides birth control? Yes. But BCPs are typically what are used due to it being the method that’s been tried, tested – and therefore trusted – the most.
Some women will not want to use birth control pills at all, and will request to begin their stimulation treatment when their cycle starts – some doctors may agree to that. (Although this is more common with mini IVF).
However, it is still a lot more common to see BCPs used even in mini IVF procedures.
Typically, with the doctor that I work with who does mini IVF, he uses birth control pills to support estrogen production at certain times throughout the process. He might use small amounts here and there during the stimulation process (which is very different to what you’ll see in other places).
You may be a little surprised to find out that the main reason BCPs are used in IVF is for something called ‘cycle batching’. This refers to your IVF doctor taking all of his patients and batching their cycles together. You might be asking why and how they do this…
Basically, it works better for a doctor’s schedule if all of their IVF patients at the same point in their cycle. This means that all of the different women a doctor is treating at any one time should all be ready for ovulation stimulation, egg retrieval, and embryo transfer around the same time.
Unfortunately, the reality is that you’re not being given birth control pills necessarily because you actually need them – but because it works better with your doctors schedule (not ideal but it is common).
Not comfortable with that? Some women don’t respond well to birth control pills/ may be averted to taking them. In this case, all it takes is a conversation with your doctor to see if they can work it.
Have you been given birth control pills as part of your IVF treatment? How do you feel about them? Do you have any pros and cons you can share with other women about to embark on their IVF journey?
Need more IVF support?
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