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What Is Ganirelix?

What is ganirelix, and why do I have to take it for IVF?

If you’re undergoing IVF, ganirelix is one of the medications you’ll probably be getting to know up close and personal. Reproductive endocrinologists prescribe it to help take control of your reproductive system by blocking the release of luteinizing hormone and delaying ovulation, so you won’t release an egg at the wrong time in your cycle.

You’ll probably need to inject ganirelix yourself (or have your partner do it for you). It’s taken subcutaneously — just under the skin — usually in the abdominal area. Side effects can include headache, or redness and swelling at the injection site.

Warning: If you stay on ganirelix for a relatively long amount of time it can feel like you’re going through menopause (hot flashes, vaginal dryness, etc.), but most of the time a fertility doctor will use it at a time in your cycle when estrogen levels are high, which will cut back on these symptoms.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Ways to Make a Baby, From Low-Tech to High

How likely are twins and other multiples with IVF?

Inspiring Conception Stories

By John Rinehart, MD, PhD, Reproductive Medicine Institute, Chicago