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How to Give a Subcutaneous Injection

Some fertility drugs are injected subcutaneously, with a very small needle, just under the skin – usually in the thigh, stomach or back of the arm.

The medication may come in a prefilled syringe, as a “pen” that may be preloaded or come with prefilled cartridges, or in ampules that you’ll need to mix. Your fertility doctor or nurse will give you the required dosage, teach you how to mix medications (if necessary) and how to inject them.

Many fertility patients do their own injections, while others have a partner or friend do the injections for them. It’s up to you. And suffice it to say, the first injection or two may be a little nerve-wracking. Following are basic instructions on how to do a subcutaneous injection.

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Clean the area where you’ll inject the medication with an alcohol swab, and allow it to dry to avoid any stinging. Do not blow on it.
  3. Pinch the skin, and hold the syringe, cartridge or pen at a 90 degree angle to your skin – about an inch away.
  4. If using a syringe, insert the needle quickly and then slightly pull back the plunger. If blood appears, you’ll have to withdraw and replace the needle, and do a new injection. If no blood appears, you can inject the medication by pushing the plunger completely so that all of the medication is released. This step is only for injections with syringes, not pens.
  5. After you inject the medication, let go of the skin, and apply slight pressure for a few seconds with a sterile gauze pad.
  6. Dispose any used equipment including the needle, syringe, pen, and medication ampules in an appropriate container (sharps container, milk container, unbreakable plastic container, glass jar).

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