- In This Feature
- The Acronyms
- Inducing Ovulation
- IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
- The Fertility Guide: The ART Procedures
- Retrieving the Eggs
- GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)
- ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer)
- ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
- Cryopreservation of Eggs
- Decision-Making Guidance for Couples
- Summary and Perspective
It is important to remember that in "nature's way," typically only one egg reaches maturity and is released each cycle. Louise Brown was conceived this way, by using the one egg her mother naturally produced. But it quickly became apparent that if more than one egg could be produced, the chances of the procedure working were much better. Ovulation induction, or getting more than one healthy egg to be produced, is now an integral part of each and every one of the ART procedures. There are many techniques available to accomplish this; there is, however, one approach that has achieved overwhelming popularity and has demonstrated the greatest success—the combination of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and gonadotropins (Pergonal, Metrodin, Humegon, Fertinex, Gonal-F and Follistim). It is this approach that I will explain in detail, and it is the same regardless of which of the ART procedures is being anticipated.
An agonist is a drug capable of combining with receptors in the body to initiate reactions, and gonadotropins are hormones the body produces that launch activities in reproductive organs.
In essence, this combination allows the physician to induce the ovaries to produce multiple oocytes (not yet mature eggs) of similar maturity with minimal if any risk of premature ovulation. This is far and away the most commonly used, and most successful, combination for ovulation induction in anticipation of an ART procedure.