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How is Heparin Used for Infertility?

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There are fertility drugs out there not only to help you get pregnant, but also to help you carry a pregnancy to term. One of these drugs is called heparin, a fertility medicine that is often prescribed for women who have had repeated miscarriages.

What is heparin, and how does it help miscarriage?
Heparin is an anticoagulant—simply put, it helps thin out your blood and prevent it from clotting. Some women suffer repeated miscarriages because of problems with blood clotting. If you have excessive clotting, you can develop a clot in your placenta, which can block the passage of nutrients or oxygen to the fetus. This can cause a miscarriage.

So how does heparin work?
Heparin works by decreasing the clotting ability of your blood. It inactivates a compound called thrombin, which is essential to the clotting process. Heparin is often prescribed in conjunction with a low-dose aspirin therapy—this also helps make the blood less “sticky.”

How do I take heparin?
You can take heparin either orally or by subcutaneous injection. Usually, heparin is started with very low dosages. Like any fertility drugs, there is a potential for side effects with heparin. These side effects include redness, pain, or bruising at the site of the injection. Longer-term use has also been associated with hair loss and bone loss.

For more information on why repeated miscarriages may occur, check out this video where Dr. Ruth Lathi of Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Medicine explains some of the most common causes.

Click image to play.

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