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5 Side Effects of Gonal-F for IVF

I’m 10 days into my third fresh IVF cycle (I’ve also previously had 3 frozen cycles), and so far the only med I’m on is the follicle-stimulating hormone Gonal-F, also known as gonadotropin. Today marks one week that I’ve injected this hormone into my gut each night. I started on 37.5 for six nights and switched to 75 after my appointment yesterday. It’s a fairly low dose, but because I don’t have an issue producing eggs, and because my doc is trying to prevent me from getting OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) again, we’re taking it slow.

I consider Gonal-F one of the easier fertility meds. I say that for a few reasons. First, it comes in a self-contained “pen” that makes the injection a breeze. No mixing, no measuring, and it’s a super small needle. You simply click the pen to the number that represents the dosage you’ve been prescribed, and stab away!

Overall, I’d give the award for Best Tolerated Med to Gonal-F.

But that’s not to say there are no side effects of Gonal-F, though admittedly they’re not nearly as bad as some of the side effects from the other fertility meds.

  • Headache 1 of 5
    Side Effects of Gonal-F

    This side effect is pretty common with just about every fertility med I've taken. Gonal-F headaches aren't quite as bad as some of the others. And while they're light, they are also constant.

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Loss of Appetite 2 of 5
    Side Effects of Gonal-F

    I have and always have had a pretty healthy appetite. Gonal-F has killed it. It was nearly 3:00 the other day when I finally forced myself to eat lunch. 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Anxiety 3 of 5
    Side Effects of Gonal-F

    My anxiety is through the roof with Gonal-F. In fact, my always perfect blood pressure was high at my last appointment! 

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Restless Nights 4 of 5
    Side Effects of Gonal-F

    It usually takes me a little bit to fall asleep, but then I'm down for the count. Not on Gonal-F! It takes me over an hour to fall asleep, and I wake up super early, not feeling rested at all.

    Photo: iStockphoto

  • Pangs in Ovaries 5 of 5
    Side Effects of Gonal-F

    This is the weirdest side effect for me. I've never noticed being able to "feel" my ovaries before, but I swear I get little twinges and pangs in them. It's almost as if I can feel the follicles growing. I know that's absolutely ridiculous, and I'm sure it's something else. But that's what it feels like!

    Photo: iStockphoto


Read more of Aela’s writing on Babble and at Two Moms Make a Right.

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