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Priming for IVF

Updated: Nov 15, 2021

I previously wrote on the benefits of DHEA prior to IVF. I believe I already mentioned that DHEA is only available by prescription in Canada, and it seems that very few women going through IVF are offered this as a means to improve their antral follicular count, including my own reproductive specialist.

What my RE is recommending is priming the ovaries using Estrace and Androgel. So, let's check to see what these are and what they do in the IVF protocol


Estrace is the brand name for the hormone estradiol. Estradiol is a form of estrogen. In the natural body, the antral follicles produce Estradiol. In a rough sense, the dominant follicle produces more, because it is larger, and this causes local suppression of the growth of the other follicles. Estradiol also goes through the cardiovascular circulation to the brain, specifically the hypothalamus, contributing to a surge in GnRH which causes the surge in LH (LH peak - the one we see on the OPK strips).

My protocol will be starting with Estrace 2mg in the morning and evening - starting tomorrow!


Androgel is a testosterone supplement. Turns out it is a "narcotic" a.k.a. controlled drug. Mainly because of its abuse. My RE says it will do something similar to DHEA, but this one is going to be used topically.

I'll be using the above medications from tomorrow until the 14th of November. Then they will give me the next step.


On the 5th, I am to add a progesterone suppository, Prometrium. From what I gather it's supposed to help with uterine lining.

I kind of feel like I am still in the dark with all of this! As far as I know, just take the meds until Nov. 14th, and then wait for further instructions.

I'll keep you posted on any side effects that I experience.


For more on my fertility journey, click here.

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