Believe It Or Not: Birth Control Pills Can Help with IVF By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on June 29, 2016

A birth control pillAt Houston Fertility Center, the patient always comes first. It's important that we strive to meet the needs of individuals and couples who are struggling to start a family. That why we offer answers to questions about the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process, no matter what the question or concern may be.

One question that often comes up when patients learn about IVF cycles is why they need to take birth control pills if they're trying to become pregnant. Let's answer that question right now.

How Birth Control Pills Work

Before getting into why birth control may be part of an IVF cycle, we should explain how birth control work. It'll help in answering this question.

Birth control pills help prevent pregnancy through several different mechanisms, though the most important of these mechanisms is stopping ovulation. By preventing the release of an egg, the sperm have nothing to fertilize, hence no pregnancy. Many birth control pills will help prevent a woman's estrogen from peaking during their cycle, which prevents mature eggs from being released by the ovaries.

Why Birth Control Pills May Be Used Leading Into IVF

It may seem antithetical to take birth control pills to get pregnant, but there are some practical reasons why this is done.

First, birth control pills allow us to regulate a patient's hormone levels before going into IVF treatment. This helps improve the chances of successful treatment, and it may even improve the effect of stimulation medication on your ovaries.

Second, taking birth control helps with the timing of the procedure, allowing us to coordinate the process with a patient's personal schedule so that the IVF cycle can begin at the most opportune time.

Is Spotting Normal While on Birth Control?

Yes. Spotting is a common side effect associated with birth control pills and it's normal. Even if there is spotting, patients should continue to take their birth control pills daily as directed to help prepare for the IVF cycle.

How Long Will I Take Birth Control?

This can vary from patient to patient depending on the nature of the infertility they're experiencing. For some women, they may need just a few weeks on birth control, while other women may require months.

During the consultation process, your fertility doctor can provide you with answers to these and other questions, and can also help address concerns you may have regarding the side effects of birth control pills.

Part of the IVF Cycle, a Step in the Process

Keep in mind that this initial phase of an IVF cycle is just one of the early steps in this process. It's important that patients take all steps of the process seriously, and that they follow all of their fertility specialist's instructions to the letter. Proper preparation for an IVF cycle helps ensure greater success.

As the IVF process continues, we'll be more than happy to answer your questions and address your concerns as they arise.

Schedule a Consultation at Houston Fertility Center

To learn more about fertility treatments and how they are performed, be sure to contact our team of fertility specialists today. At Houston Fertility Center, we'll cover all of your options for treatment and help you start the family of your dreams.

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Dr. Sonja Kristiansen

Houston Fertility Center

Dr. Sonja Kristiansen is the founder and Medical Director of Houston Fertility Center. She is a board-certified Reproductive Endocrinologist Infertility (REI) specialist who is proud to help hopeful parents fulfill their dreams of having children. Our center is affiliated with the:

  • American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • American Society for Reproductive Medicine
  • Texas Medical Association

We provide convenient care for patients from greater Houston and visitors from out of town. For more information about our services, contact our office online or call (713) 225-5375 today.

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