17 May The Best Way To Wean Yourself Off IVF Meds
The IVF worked – you’re pregnant! So when to stop your meds? First off, don’t stop. Wean. Tapering your IVF drugs, at the right time and in the right way, is critical. Here’s how the weaning process works.
Most IVF patients take progesterone after embryo transfer. If you’ve had donor eggs, donor embryos or an FET, you’ll be taking estrogen as well. Your pregnancy test, two weeks after your transfer, is positive. Keep taking your meds. It’s way too early at that point to start weaning. Some patients sadly make this mistake.
The best time to wean? Eight weeks. No sooner, no later. A few years ago, fertility patients were routinely instructed to start weaning at 11 weeks and stop at 12 weeks. But newer research says earlier is better. Your body is producing sufficient progesterone and estrogen itself by eight weeks, and probably earlier. Weaning from that point is the optimal way to transition from synthetic to natural hormonal support.
When we say eight weeks, we mean eight weeks pregnant. Not week 8, or the eighth week of pregnancy. Those terms are confusing. But the phrase eight weeks pregnant is clearer for IVF patients. Here’s why. If you had a day-five transfer, count back five days. On that day, you’re officially two weeks pregnant. (Yes, before you had your transfer.) A week later, you’re three weeks pregnant. From there, counting to eight weeks pregnant is easy.
Every IVF patient is different. Talk to your fertility clinic about how and when to wean. But weaning from eight weeks pregnant typically means halving your medication from eight weeks and stopping altogether at nine. So if you’re taking 8 mg of estrogen and 800 mg of progesterone daily, you’ll reduce to 4 mg + 400 mg at eight weeks and stop all meds a week later.
The same seven-day weaning timeline applies to extras like Prednisolone and low-dose aspirin. (Some studies, however, say taking baby aspirin for longer may benefit certain patients.) If you’re taking a stronger blood thinner like Clexane, you can stop it at nine weeks without reducing – unless you have a haematological issue that requires you to keep taking it. Ensure, obviously, that you get precise drug weaning advice from your IVF clinic.
It’s easy to worry about weaning yourself off IVF drugs. But the science shows that reducing your medication from eight weeks is safe. Yes, have a progesterone blood test on the same day as your HCG pregnancy test if you wish. And a weekly one after that for peace of mind. But the high-dose progesterone format you’re taking, plus your estrogen intake, will almost certainly be working fine. A safe and stress-free weaning process can begin.