For Terminology Tuesdays this week, I would like to discuss the evolution and potential future of gonadotropins (injectable medications used to help grow eggs).
I am always amazed when I think about the evolution of the modern gonadotropin injectable medication. The Practice Committee of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine states, Use of gonadotropin therapy is so central to infertility treatment that it is easy to overlook the considerable discovery and research that preceded production of the effective and safe products available today. The history underpinning this development spans close to 100 years and provides a splendid example of how basic animal experimentation and technological advances have progressed to clinical application.
Currently, the gonadotopins used for controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (growing eggs in the ovary) are medications that are injected daily. Most women undergoing IVF require around 7-10 days of gonadotropins. That means 7-10 shots just to grow the eggs. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get similar growth of eggs but with fewer injections?
I recently returned from a trip to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s Annual Clinical Meeting where we discussed a new, longer acting gonadotropin being developed that may decrease the number of shots a patient takes during the IVF process. The Practice Committee states that this new preparation of gonadotropin hold[s] promise for improving patient satisfaction while maintaining efficacy.
The longer acting preparation could act as long as a week and a single subcutaneous injection of the recommended dose may replace up to seven injections. This new medication is currently being studied in numerous trials to evaluate for safety and efficacy. As of right now, it is too soon to know when this medication will be approved for mainstream IVF usage in the USA. However, knowing that patients would take fewer shots, makes the future of IVF medication look less painful!
Source: Fertility and Sterility, Volume 90, Issue 5, Page S13-20, November 2008, Authors: The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.
Dr. Lowell T. Ku, M.D. is an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Dr. Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.