It’s normal to wonder, “why do you take birth control before IVF?” It may seem contradictory since birth control pills are the most commonly used method to prevent pregnancy and IVF has the highest success rates of all fertility treatments at achieving pregnancy. So, why do fertility specialists often recommend using birth control pills at the beginning of IVF treatment?
Since an IVF treatment cycle begins on Day 1 of your period, it’s common for doctors to recommend an IVF birth control protocol to help ensure that your period comes when planned. As most women know, periods are not always predictable, which can make the fertility treatment process more stressful.
Whether you are using donor eggs, donor embryos, or using your own eggs, being able to accurately predict when your period will begin is advantageous for scheduling purposes. It is very common for women to take birth control in order to time their menstrual cycle and be able to plan their work schedules or vacations with their IVF medication schedules. This is especially important for international patients who will be traveling abroad for their IVF cycle.
Usually, you are on birth control for approximately 7 days before IVF treatment begins. You must be on birth control pills for a minimum of 7 days before starting the next medication. However, how long to take birth control pills before IVF will vary depending on your circumstances and the protocol of your clinic and/or physician.
Day 1 of your period is the first day of your menstrual cycle. The fertility clinic will ask you to come for a blood test and ultrasound between days 2 to 5. If the test results are normal, the doctor will ask you to begin taking the BCPs on day 4 or 5 of your cycle.
Taking birth control pills has been shown to help the follicles (egg-containing structures) grow at a similar rate which leads to a greater number of mature eggs retrieved. This is why our egg donors are typically put on birth control pills 7 to 10 days before starting stimulation medications.
Birth control pills do not always have to be used for IVF, and in this case you would simply wait for a period to begin treatment. Also, if you have a history of blood clots or other risk factors, your doctor may not recommend birth control before your IVF cycle.
In conclusion, taking birth control pills before IVF is beneficial for a variety of reasons. IVF birth control protocols are mainly recommended to time your menstrual cycle with your IVF treatment plan. If you have any additional questions, our team is here to help!