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IVF Medication Side Effects: Knowing What to Expect By Dr. Kalan on April 13, 2018

A woman with abdominal crampingOur fertility specialists have helped countless people in the greater Los Angeles, CA area start healthy, wonderful families of their own. This is thanks in large part to in vitro fertilization (IVF), which remains one of the most popular and effective fertility treatments available. Both male and female infertility can be addressed thanks to IVF treatment.

In order to increase your chances of having children during IVF treatment, fertility drugs are used. These drugs help regular hormones and trigger certain conditions that make IVF more likely to succeed. Let’s go over some of the most common fertility drugs used and note their side effects.

Clomiphene Citrate (CC)

Clomiphene citrate helps stimulate ovulation, which is particularly important for women who have irregular or absent periods. Taken orally, these drugs help increase the amount of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) in a woman’s body.

Common side effect of clomiphene citrate include:

  • Hot flashes
  • Blurry vision
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Changes to your cervical mucus


Gonadotropins refer to injectable hormone medications that help with the IVF process. The hormones classified under this category are as follows:

  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
  • Human Menopausal Gonadotropins (hMG)

Common side effects of gonadotropins may include:

  • Tender breasts
  • Swelling around the injection site
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Bloating

We should note that there are generally no side effects if only hCG is taken on its own.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH)

This injectable drug stimulates the pituitary gland, causing it to secrete more LH and FSH into a woman’s body.

Common side effects of GnRH include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Bloating

GnRH Agonists and GnRH Antagonists

GnRH agonists may be administered by injection or as a nasal spray. These drugs helps a woman’s body produce more high-quality eggs. GnRH antagonists are injections that help prevent premature ovulation in women undergoing IVF.

Common side effects of GnRH agonists and GnRH antagonists include:

  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Insomnia
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Reduction in breast size
  • Mood swings
  • Depression


Progesterone is administered after egg retrieval has occurred, preparing the uterine lining for the embryo to increase the chances of successful implantation and pregnancy. Progesterone may be as an intramuscular injection. I can also be administered orally or in the form of a vaginal gel or vaginal suppository.

Potential side effects of progesterone include:

  • Tender breasts
  • Hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Bloating
  • Vaginal discharge

Discussing These Side Effects Ahead of Time

As you can see, there are many kinds of drugs used as part of the IVF process. During a consultation, the team here at Los Angeles Reproductive Center will go over the treatment process step by step so you understand what to expect. We will also note any mediations or supplements that you are currently taking in order to prevent possible contraindications while you undergo the IVF process.

Discussion, precaution, and a genuine attention to your needs is the ideal way to approach the fertility treatment process. That’s why we’re here for you.

Learn More About IVF

For more information about IVF and how we can help you start the family you have always wanted, be sure to contact Los Angeles Reproductive Center. We will answer any questions you may have and address your concerns in full as well.

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