Birth control pills before a fertility cycle allow the clinic to control your doctor and your subsequent, pre-stimulation bleed. For fertility patients travelling to another country for treatment, they allow you to book your treatment and trip well in advance, saving you money on costly last-minute flights. Once your bleed is controlled by the birth control pills, the clinic then tells you exactly when to stop them. Your bleed arrives three or four days after that. And you then start your stimulating medication, often on day 2 of that bleed.
Birth control pill contain a synthetic estrogen and progesterone. You’ll need to take the birth control pills for 21 days. This means you must start them at least six weeks before a frozen embryo cycle or at least five weeks before an IVF cycle using your own eggs. For donor-egg cycles, five weeks will also do.
Birth control pills aren’t suitable for all fertility patients. If you’ve got high blood pressure or a history of migraines it’s better not to use them. Other medical conditions may also preclude their use. Doctors are sometimes wary of prescribing birth control pills to fertility patients over 40. But as the BCPs are for short-term use only the risk to older patients is often not that great. But speak to your doctor about this.
The advantages of using BCPs prior to treatment, particularly those planning IVF trips to other countries in advance, outweigh this.
For fertility patients travelling abroad for treatment, your clinic will advise on the use of birth control pills. Most of the time they are indispensable. Occasionally, they should be treated with caution.