Fertility Medication Injections
Patients undergoing fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), and ovulation induction are typically prescribed injectable fertility medication that must be self-administered at home at various intervals between office visits. These medications serve a variety of purposes including stimulating a woman’s reproductive system to produce eggs, preventing premature release of the eggs, and triggering ovulation at the desired time.
Though it may seem intimidating at first, most patients become comfortable with the injection process with a little time and practice. Some patients find it helpful to enlist the assistance of their partner or a close family member.
Obtaining injectable medications at a specialty pharmacy
Most fertility medication injections are obtained at a specialty pharmacy rather than a typical drugstore. Specialty pharmacies have physical locations, but many operate online. In some cases, insurance companies will specify a preferred specialty pharmacy that offers the best coverage and rates for their subscribers.
Additionally, there are often coupons and discounts available for fertility injections. Patients may also wish to explore self-pay options depending on what is covered in their insurance plan.
Self-administering fertility medication injections
Specific instructions for subcutaneous (under the skin) or intramuscular (into the muscle) fertility treatment injections vary by medication. But there are some general tips and best practices.
- First, the patient and anyone helping with the injection should wash their hands. Throughout the injection process, it is important to maintain a clean, sterile environment.
- Find a clean, flat and dry surface to work on, like a sterilized kitchen or bathroom counter.
- Refer to the medication instructions to ensure that all of the necessary materials are at hand. Depending on the type of injection, these may include:
- Reusable injection pen.
- Disposable needle and syringe.
- Alcohol swabs.
- Appropriate dose of medication.
- Sterile gauze pads.
- Safety container for needle disposal.
- Sterile bandages.
- Draw the prescribed dose of medication into the syringe or ensure the settings on the injection pen will allow for delivery of the appropriate dose.
- Holding the needle upward, gently push the syringe until a small droplet forms at the tip of the needle. This will remove air bubbles from the syringe. Then replace the cap on the syringe in order to prepare the injection site.
- Identify the injection site. This will vary and should be specified in the instructions accompanying the medication. For subcutaneous injections, it is common to administer the injection in the stomach or upper thigh.
- Clean the injection site with an alcohol swab and allow a few moments for the skin to dry.
- For subcutaneous injections, pinch about an inch of skin using your thumb and fingers. This will pull a bit of soft, fatty tissue (where the injection should go) away from the muscle.
- Removing the cap from the syringe or pen, firmly grasp the needle like a dart, and gently push it into the skin.
- Once the needle is in the skin, let go of the pinched skin and gently push the medication through the syringe and into the skin.
- Remove the needle and cover the injection site with a sterile gauze pad. If the site is bleeding, cover it with a sterile bandage.
- Dispose of the needle in the safety container, and ensure any remaining medication is safely stored and refrigerated if necessary.
Instructions and information about specific injections
Click each medication to view a step-by-step instructional video for administering the injection. If you are unsure about any of the steps involved in the process, please do not hesitate to call our office with questions.
IVF cycle timelines
The documents linked below contain visual timelines related to different types of IVF cycles. These can help patients more clearly understand the timing of office visits, injections, monitoring, egg retrievals and embryo transfers. They are in PDF format, and may be downloaded or printed for easy reference.