Ovarian Stimulation in Assisted Reproduction: Questions, Duration, and Side Effects

estimulación ovárica

Ovarian stimulation plays a fundamental role in assisted reproduction treatments such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or artificial insemination. Whether you are on the path to motherhood or simply wish to better comprehend this process, you are in the right place.

In this article, we’ve interviewed Dr. Katharina Spies to explain what ovarian stimulation is, how it is carried out, how long it takes, potential side effects, and what activities you should avoid during this process. We aim to address all your questions regarding ovarian stimulation!

What Is Ovarian Stimulation?

Ovarian stimulation is a vital part of assisted reproduction treatments. Its aim is to induce the ovaries to produce multiple eggs instead of the natural occurrence of just one during the menstrual cycle. This is crucial for increasing the chances of success in treatments like IVF or artificial insemination.

How Is Ovarian Stimulation Performed?

The process starts with the administration of hormonal medications, typically through injections. These hormones stimulate the growth of ovarian follicles, small fluid-filled sacs containing eggs.

During this period, close monitoring is conducted through ultrasounds and blood tests to track the development of the follicles. When the follicles reach the appropriate size, another hormone is administered to trigger egg maturation.

How Long Does Stimulation Take?

The duration of ovarian stimulation can vary from one woman to another, but generally, it lasts around 10 to 14 days. This period includes the time needed for follicle growth and egg maturation.

Phases of the Ovarian Stimulation Process

The phases are divided into three distinct stages:

  • Initial Assessment with Basal Ultrasound: This first phase involves conducting an ultrasound in the initial three days of the menstrual cycle, either after taking contraceptives or once ovulation has occurred. The primary purpose of this ultrasound is to confirm that the ovaries are at rest, free from cysts or abnormally sized follicles.
  • Controlled Ovarian Stimulation: During this phase, hormones, typically urinary or recombinant gonadotropins, are administered to regulate follicle growth. This stage should commence in the early days of the menstrual cycle, ideally on the first or second day, aiming to synchronize follicle development to reach the appropriate size. This is the most extensive phase, lasting approximately 10 to 12 days.
  • Follicular Maturation and Ovulation: The third stage of ovarian stimulation involves the injection of the triggering hormone, which can be hCG, a GnRH analog, or a combination of both. These hormones stimulate the final maturation of follicles and trigger egg release. It is administered roughly 32 to 36 hours before the follicular puncture procedure, with the primary goal of achieving controlled ovulation.

After completing ovarian stimulation, the follicular puncture is performed, a procedure to extract mature eggs with the guidance of ultrasound.


Everything about ovarian or follicular puncture in IVF <

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Side Effects of Ovarian Stimulation

Although ovarian stimulation is safe, it may cause some mild side effects. These can include abdominal bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and discomfort at the hormone injection site. However, these effects typically dissipate after the process.

Does Multiple Ovarian Stimulation Increase the Risk of Cancer?

According to recent studies and our specialist, Dr. Elena Santiago Romero, it has been reported that up to six ovarian stimulations do not increase the risk of developing hormone-dependent cancers in the future.

What Shouldn’t You Do During Stimulation?

During ovarian stimulation, it is important to avoid activities that could jeopardize your health or that of potential embryos. This includes refraining from alcohol consumption, not smoking, and avoiding the use of medications not authorized by your physician. Additionally, it is advisable to abstain from sexual intercourse during this period to prevent the possibility of an unwanted multiple pregnancy.

Ovarian Stimulation at Life Fertility

Ovarian stimulation is an essential part of assisted reproduction treatments that has helped many couples fulfill their dream of having a child. While it may seem like a complex process, with the proper guidance from fertility experts at Life Fertility, you can navigate this stage with confidence and hope.

If you’d like to learn more or take the first step toward motherhood, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to support you on this exciting journey to parenthood.