IVF stimulation drugs are designed to encourage your body to produce eggs. You usually introduce IVF stimulation drugs once you have gone through a period of ‘down regulation’.
What to expect from IVF stimulation drugs
Once you have reached the egg stimulation part of the IVF process, you may start to feel slightly more positive. Your egg retrieval date is now in sight and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When I had reached this point of the IVF process, I don’t remember feeling excited about IVF working or worried about it not working, I just remember feeling elated that IVF would soon be over! I think that was just my own way of protecting myself should IVF not work. And, the first time I did IVF, it didn’t actually work for me, so in a way I was glad that I hadn’t allowed myself to get excited about the prospect of the treatment working.
What are the side effects of IVF stimulation drugs?
For me, down regulation was more about keeping on top of my mental health but egg stimulation (or ‘stimming’ as it’s known on most IVF forums) was more about managing the physical effects of IVF. My stomach bloated out a little bit, not as much as I thought it would, but enough to be noticeable without some clever dressing.
I also found that the headaches were that much worse with egg stimulation but I managed to keep on top of that with drinking even more water than before. Your fertility specialist will tell you how much water to drink each day – the advice varies from clinic to clinic – but it’s so important to stay hydrated. This isn’t just so that you can keep the headaches at bay, there is a much more serious reason – OHSS. Water intake is crucial when it comes to avoiding OHSS which can be a very serious condition.
For me, egg stimulation was not as bad as I’d expected and any side effects from the fertility drugs, such as bloating, disappeared quite quickly after my egg retrieval. I was also advised to do the egg stimulation injection at the same time each day in order to minimise side effects which I definitely found to be true.
For more information on how you can manage the side effects of egg stimulation with good nutrition, download How to Cope with IVF.