Ovulation Stimulation Medications Used in IVF

Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) is the first step of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment in which the ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs. The purpose of COH is to obtain the optimum number of mature eggs that can be analyzed in the laboratory in order to select the healthiest or most viable fertilized eggs for embryo transfer.

The following medications and hormones are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during the IVF process.

Contraceptives Gonadotropins GnRH hCG

Oral contraceptives

Oral contraceptives ("the pill") are prescribed to prevent the formation of ovarian cysts during IVF treatments. These cysts are not dangerous for your health but can complicate the implantation process.


Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH), both essential to egg maturation, are prescribed and typically self-administered by injection.  

GnRH (agonist or antagonist) is prescribed to prevent early and uncontrolled ovulation during treatment. These hormones suppress the secretion of Luteinizing Hormone (LH), which normally stimulates ovulation

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone naturally produced in pregnancy that is usually prescribed during fertility treatments to stimulate the final maturation and ovulation of mature eggs in preparation for egg retrieval.

Some women experience mild side effects which include inflammation at the injection site, mood swings, breast tenderness, abdominal bloating or discomfort, and headaches.