How to Use the Gonal-f Pen for Infertility and IVF

Follitropin alfa for injection (commonly known as the Gonal-f pen) is a type of medication used in fertility treatments to induce ovulation in women who have not been able to become pregnant due to problems with ovulation. It is a synthetic version of a hormone produced by the pituitary gland that helps stimulate egg development in the ovaries.

Person injecting a needle into a medical device
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Follitropin alfa is also used by women undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to get pregnant. The Gonal-f pen is preloaded with medication and comes ready to use, but the amount of medication given and the length of time it needs to be taken for will vary from person to person. Always refer to your fertility specialist for the recommended schedule of injections and dosage amount specific to you.

Using the pen is not difficult; however, it can be scary the first time.

Using the Gonal-f Pen

The Gonal-f pen has a visual scale right on it that lets you confirm whether the precise dose you need is ready to inject. This reduces the chance of making any dosing errors. Even still, it is important to follow the instructions that come along with the Gonal-f pen exactly. Below is an overview of how to use a Gonal pen, which takes about five minutes:

What You Need

  • Your prescribed Gonal-f Pen (300IU, 450IU, or 900IU)
  • BD Micro-Fine Needles
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Kleenex or Tissue
  • Bandaid if necessary
  • Sharps container
  • Medication journal
  • Dose prescribed by your healthcare provider

11 Steps to Using the Gonal-f Pen

  1. Gather and assemble everything you will need—a Gonal-f Pen, one needle, one alcohol wipe, and one tissue.
  2. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
  3. Swab the rubber stopper on the outside of the pen with an alcohol wipe. Allow to air dry.
  4. Remove the outer paper wrapper on the needle. Screw the needle onto the pen using a clockwise motion.
  5. Remove the outer needle shield.
  6. Dial the dose prescribed by your healthcare provider by using the dial at the top of the pen to line up the dose with the arrow indicator.
  7. Pull on the dial in an outward motion until you hear the clicks and cannot pull the dial anymore.
  8. Swab the area you will be injecting with a second alcohol pad—the lower abdomen about an inch below the belly button or the front of the thigh about halfway down is preferable.
  9. Inject the needle and push the injection button (dial) at the top of the pen until it cannot be pushed in anymore. Keep the needle in the skin for at least 5 seconds.
  10. Remove the needle from the skin.
  11. Using the pen, scoop up the outer needle shield and carefully cover the needle. Unscrew the needle and immediately dispose of it safely (preferably in a sharps container).


  1. Keep a pen and paper with the injection pen. Record the dose each day that you use the pen and subtract from the total number of units on the pen to keep track of what's left.
  2. Inject the pen in a quick, dart-like motion to minimize the discomfort of injection.
  3. Store the pen in the refrigerator if you will be using it again.
  4. You should not share your Gonal-f pen or needles with another person as you may give another person an infection or get an infection from them.

Common Side Effects of the Gonal-f Pen

Some of the common side effects of the Gonal-f pen include (and are not limited to) the following symptoms:

Alert your doctor if you have any side effects, as the Gonal-f Pen can cause other serious side effects including ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), with or without lung or blood vessel problems.

5 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Bühler K. Managing infertility with the follitropin alfa prefilled pen injector - patient considerationsTher Clin Risk Manag. 2015;11:995–1001. doi:10.2147/TCRM.S64222

  2. Lunenfeld B, Bilger W, Longobardi S, Alam V, D'Hooghe T, Sunkara SK. The Development of Gonadotropins for Clinical Use in the Treatment of InfertilityFront Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2019;10:429. Published 2019 Jul 3. doi:10.3389/fendo.2019.00429

  3. Somkuti SG, Schertz JC, Moore M, Ferrande L, Kelly E; Gonal-F Prefilled Pen in OI Study 24785 Group. Patient experience with follitropin alfa prefilled pen versus previously used injectable gonadotropins for ovulation induction in oligoanovulatory womenCurr Med Res Opin. 2006;22(10):1981–1996. doi:10.1185/030079906X132604

  4. Gonal-f RRF Redi-ject. Instructions for subcutaneous injection. EMD Serono.

  5. Nahuis M, van der Veen F, Oosterhuis J, Mol BW, Hompes P, van Wely M. Review of the safety, efficacy, costs and patient acceptability of recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone for injection in assisting ovulation induction in infertile womenInt J Womens Health. 2010;1:205–211. doi:10.2147/ijwh.s4729

Additional Reading
  • IVF Worldwide. Gonal-f Pen.

By Nicole Galan, RN
Nicole Galan, RN, is a registered nurse and the author of "The Everything Fertility Book."