When it comes to doing IVF, different patients have different concerns and a major one that most women have is that the IVF injections will hurt. They are aware that they will have to take IVF injections for several days; it’s not surprising that women don’t really look forward to taking these shots as they have been told that the injections are very painful.  It’s true that taking injections isn’t any fun, but it’s important to be aware that IVF injections aren’t really painful.

Subcutaneous and intramuscular injections

Two injectables- Lupron and Anatgon are used for downregulation and they have to be given subcutaneously. They are somewhat like the insulin injections that diabetics take, are easy to administer and aren’t really painful at all. The injections that are used in superovulation (urinary gonadotropins such as Menogon), used to be given intramuscularly. These are more painful than the subcutaneous ones as a larger volume of the medication has to be deposited in the muscle; it’s because the muscles have a larger number of nerve endings compared to subcutaneous fat

But these water soluble and the pain is much easier to handle.  You can easily manage the pain using EMLA patches or use ice cubes to numb the area. Now, things have changed in this space too. The newer injections such as the recombinant gonadotropins like Follistim and Gonal-F & the highly-purified urinary gonadotropins can be given subcutaneously. They aren’t at all painful; however, they are far more expensive than IM shots.

The painful injections

So, why then are patients under the impression that IVF injections are painful? The painful injections are the oily progesterone injections that used to be given intramuscularly for luteal phase support post embryo transfer. These shots are extremely painful and are the ones that patients never forget – they leave a major scar on the mind as well as on the butt. As a matter of fact, it’s these very injections that make patients swear themselves off IVF treatment for ever.

At the Malpani Infertility Clinic, we don’t really use these injections at all and a number of IVF clinics don’t use them either. Instead of intramuscular injections, we give these injections vaginally; they are given in the form of a suppository. Though this is far messier, there is absolutely no pain and our patients are happier too.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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