Follistim And Gonal-f For IUI
If you are undergoing IUI to treat infertility, you may encounter the names of certain ovulation drugs that your fertility specialist recommends. Ovulation drugs are also called fertility drugs or fertility medications, and their goal is to enhance the IUI process (or other fertility treatments, such as IVF) by triggering ovulation.
Ovulation drugs are designed to mimic natural hormones in the body - hormones which would normally stimulate the ovaries to mature and to produce an egg, or stimulate the growth of sperm cells in men. Thus hormone-like fertility drugs help couples conceive by artificially stimulating natural process in the body so that fertilization can occur.
Follistim and Gonal-f Overview
Follistim and Gonal-f are two fertility medications that are part of a class of fertility drugs called gonadotropins. Follistim and Gonal-f mimic the hormone FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), which normally is secreted by the pituitary gland, and which stimulates the growth and development of eggs in women, and the growth and development of sperm in men.
Gonal-f and Follistim are known generically as Follitropin or r-FSH. Follistim and Gonal-f are created via recombinant DNA technology. This means that they are created in a lab through advanced technology that makes them "bio-identical" to the real FSH hormone. In other words, they have the same molecular structure and the same molecular shape as the natural FSH hormone.
This is different from other hormone-like fertility drugs, which are extracted from the urine of post-menopausal or pregnant women, who have high levels of the hormones FSH or hCG respectively.
Who are Candidates for Follistim and Gonal-f?
Follistim and Gonal-f are recommended as treatment for women who have not been able to get pregnant due to ovulation problems. Follistim and Gonal-f are also used to treat some cases of male factor infertility.
Both of these drugs must be injected and not taken orally, since they are inactivated in the intestinal tract. However, they can be self-injected at home and are easy to administer.
Follistim and Gonal-f Side Effects
You should expect certain side effects as a result of injecting these gonadotropins; however, you should be wary of other side effects and report them to your doctor immediately if they appear.
Expected side effects of include: redness, slight inflammation or irritation at the site of injection; fatigue; headaches; breast tenderness; mood swings such as irritability or restlessness.
Side effects to watch out for include: chest pain, fluid retention, rapid weight gain, bloating, pelvic or penis pain, indigestion, nausea or vomiting, enlarged breasts in men, small amounts of urine passed.
Follistim and Gonal-f Risks
Treatment with Follistim and Gonal-f increases the chances of having multiple pregnancies and multiple births, resulting in twins or triplets or more. There is also an increased risk for ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), where over-stimulated ovaries become filled with fluid, resulting in enlarged ovaries, abdominal swelling, and dehydration. This condition is usually mild and can be treated at home, but it can also become severe enough to require hospitalization. Finally, with any injection comes the risk of infection or allergic reaction.