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Birth Control Pills Before IVF

Striking a Delicate Hormonal Balance with Birth Control Pills Before IVF

At Park Avenue Fertility, we personalize care at our Connecticut fertility center by considering individual patient needs to achieve optimal results. In some cases, Andrew Levi MD recommends in vitro fertilization (IVF), a multi-step process including preparation, ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer. For some patients, using birth control pills before IVF, as an initial step before ovarian stimulation, can enhance egg yield and provide optimal timing of the IVF cycle.

The surprising role of this advanced protocol

Some patients are understandably surprised that taking birth control pills before IVF is sometimes recommended. Perhaps they have only regarded birth control pills as a pregnancy preventive. However, the use of birth control pills before IVF can help achieve a delicate balance of hormones that lays the necessary groundwork for successful ovarian stimulation.

Here are some of the possible advantages our Connecticut fertility center considers when using birth control pills before IVF:

  • Enhanced responsiveness during ovarian stimulation. Birth control pills can play an important role in quieting the ovaries before they are stimulated. After taking birth control pills, the growth of follicles, which are fluid-filled sacs in the ovaries containing unfertilized eggs, is temporarily halted. In a typical menstrual cycle, only one dominant follicle grows at a faster rate, causing the other follicles to stop progressing. But with the ovaries at rest before stimulating medications are administered, multiple follicles can ideally develop in a more synchronized way, with a goal of more available eggs for retrieval.
  • Better regulation and coordinated IVF treatment for women. Birth control pills with controlled low doses of hormones – typically estrogen and progesterone – allow greater management over cycle regulation, which can help you and your care team schedule important dates in your IVF treatment cycle.
  • Possible reduction in new ovarian cysts. Taking birth control pills before IVF can suppress the development of new ovarian cysts. The pill does not treat existing cysts, which usually resolve on their own within a few months.

Patients should discuss their health history with Dr. Levi, and may need to avoid birth control pills if they have a history of certain medical conditions.

  • Heart attack or stroke
  • Blood clots
  • High blood pressure

Customized care, just for you

At Park Avenue Fertility and Reproductive Medicine, we pride ourselves on individualized care, knowing each patient has specific needs. One decision point along the IVF journey is whether birth control pills before IVF might be effective for you. If so, we will prescribe the most appropriate pills and provide detailed instructions for when and how to take them. Contact Dr. Levi at our Connecticut fertility center to learn more.