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Giuliana Rancic’s 63 IVF Injections a Month! Is This Par for the IVF Course ...

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Recently, reality star Giuliana Rancic, anchor and managing editor of E! News, opened up about her fertility treatments, revealing that she receives more than 60 IVF injections in one month to prepare her body for the IVF procedure. But is this number of IVF injections typical for an average patient?

According to Dr. John G. Wilcox, a board certified reproductive endocrinologist (fertility doctor) at HRC Fertility in Pasadena, Calif., representing that more than 60 IVF shots a month as the normal patient experience can be misleading.

“That’s an exceptional number of injections,” he says. “It would be highly atypical, profoundly atypical.”

Number of IVF Injections Depends on the IVF Protocol

The number and kind of IVF injections depends on the IVF protocol your doctor prescribes. IVF protocols generally use three types of drugs: a medication, such as Lupron, to suppress ovulation until the eggs are mature, an FSH medicine to stimulate the development of multiple eggs, and HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to allow for the final maturation of the eggs.

Your doctor can prescribe different IVF protocols, which affect the length of the cycle and the number of injections needed. With the long protocol IVF, you will take a medication to suppress ovulation before the start of your period for around 10 days. Short protocol IVF, on the other hand, allows you to suppress ovulation later in the cycle, which can minimize the number of injections.

Lowering the Number of IVF Shots

According to Dr. Wilcox, another way to minimize the number of IVF injections is to combine the medications. While this is not FDA-approved — meaning that FDA studies were done without mixing the medications — many centers are now offering this option to their patients.

“Our center has had great success in combining medications, which would lower the number of shots,” says Wilcox. “Many centers have experience doing this with no adverse effects.”

How much can this decrease the number of IVF shots? If you combine medication, Dr. Wilcox says that you can prepare for an IVF cycle in as few as 10 injections per month. If you are using the long IVF protocol, you may be looking at as few as 20 injections.

Even if your fertility clinic does not combine the medication for the IVF injections, it’s unlikely you would max out at 60 IVF shots a month.

“For centers that don’t combine medication, you might be looking at two (shots) a day, not six per day over a 10-day period,” says Wilcox.

So in what situations would you need more 60 IVF injections in just one month? According to Dr. Wilcox, this may represent a “heroic protocol” used to stimulate response in a woman with a very low ovarian reserve. This heroic protocol for ovarian stimulation may only be used for women with elevated FSH levels, who are over the age of 38, and who have responded poorly in the past to standard protocols.

Giving the IVF Shots

Even if you’re not looking at more than 60 IVF injections per month like Giuliana Rancic, you will still need to get used to some home injections. While it may not be pleasant, there are some ways to make giving IVF injections easier.

For Rancic’s IVF shots, which she needed three times a day for 21 days, she turned to her husband Bill to administer them, since she fears needles.

“Bill could honestly be on Grey’s Anatomy,” she told “He could be McRancic.”

According to Wilcox, patients usually find the process easier if they have someone else giving the injections, such as a partner or a friend. It’s also helpful to have a nurse go over the process with the patient and her partner, as well as give the first shot.

If you have a fear of needles, Dr. Wilcox advises you to bring this up with your fertility doctor.

“If the doctor knows the patient has a phobia of needles, they can talk about combining the drugs for less injections,” he says.