That’s why, during egg freezing, the ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs, increasing the doctor’s chances of finding a few healthy eggs per batch. More eggs, more potential.
These injections stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs in one menstrual cycle (instead of just the one egg produced in a typical cycle). The healthcare team will guide you through every step of the medication phase, from obtaining your medication through pharmacies that specialize in fertility hormones to training on how and when to inject yourself.
You should call the office on the first day of a normal menstrual flow—you know best what that means for your body. (If you’re not sure, just ask! The team is here to help.) On that day, you’ll schedule your first visit, during which the doctor will perform a transvaginal ultrasound and hormone blood testing. Once the results are in, you’ll get the green light to start your individual medication and monitoring plan.
The first medication is a hormone (follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH)—or combination of hormones (FSH and luteinizing hormone, or LH)—that gets your ovaries working overtime to produce multiple eggs. This medication is normally started on the first or second day of your period, and is injected once or twice daily for about 8–11 days. The second medication is called an antagonist, because instead of helping to stimulate your ovaries, it actually prevents you from ovulating early and releasing your eggs before the retrieval. The antagonist is usually injected once daily beginning mid-cycle. The final medication, known as a “trigger,” is injected two days before the retrieval to prep your body to release the eggs at just the right time.
Timing is everything, and these medications work together to make sure your body and your egg freezing plan are on the same page. These are just estimates based on the typical treatment plan—your plan may look different, so make sure you follow your doctor’s instructions. See a list of these medications here.
Most women find the injections easy once they receive hands-on instruction from a nurse in a one-on-one training session. As for the discomfort level, that’ll depend on how sensitive you are, but because the injections are made subcutaneously (under the skin, not into the muscle like a flu shot) and with short, thin needles, it’s generally more of a pain than it is painful. Remember, you’re never alone during this process—if you need help with your medication (or anything else), the healthcare team is just a phone call or e-mail away.
These appointments, known as “monitoring” visits, usually take under 30 minutes and include a blood test and an ultrasound to assess how your body is responding to the medication. Because each body is different, the doctor can use the information gained at these visits to adjust your medication or your treatment schedule, if necessary.