Definition - What does Medicated Cycle mean?
A medicated cycle is a round of fertility drugs taken prior to completing an assisted reproductive treatment (ART), including intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) or frozen embryo transfer (FET). A medicated cycle uses ovulation induction medication to coordinate the body’s timing with the transfer, ensuring preparation for a potential conception.
Alternatively, a natural cycle refers to completing ART without the use of cycle regulating medications.
FertilitySmarts explains Medicated Cycle
Naturally, the body prepares for pregnancy by releasing a series of hormones that mature an egg in the follicle, release it during ovulation, and prepare a thick lining in the endometrium to support implantation. With well timed, unprotected intercourse, this process leads to conception. In order for ART to result in a successful conception, the body must following similar steps in order to prepared to accept the pregnancy.
A medicated cycle involves a series of medications that induce an artificial ovulation, triggering the body to prepare for conception in a methodical, traceable pattern. Estrogen pills, patches are shots are administered leading up to the procedure. Then 2-3 days prior to implantation, a shot of progesterone is provided to finalize the endometrial layer. Additionally, in some cases GnRH agonists are provided to block ovulation from randomly occurring.
During a natural cycle, careful observation of a woman’s preexisting monthly rhythm is utilized to time implantation to coordinate with that cycle, faking the body into thinking conception occurred through fertilization. The ART procedure is completed in coordination with the natural time frame.
Women or couples who opt for natural cycle transfers typically do so because of its simplicity, reduced cost, and lack of additional medications. However, by allowing the body to maintain control, a natural cycle provides a level of unpredictability, which poses a level of risk for the success of the procedure.
Medicated cycles may be preferred for the convenience with scheduling (regulating the time of the procedure as opposed to waiting for the appropriate time), and a lower chance of complications or unexpected bodily actions.