What Is the Role of Estradiol Patches in IVF?

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/20/2015

Estradiol patches, which common brand name is Vivelle-Dot, is a drug used in assisted reproduction. They are adhesive patches, which are applied directly to the skin. The patches contain estrogen, which is used during estrogen replacement therapies frozen embryo transfer (FET).

Before using the patches, the information leaflet should be carefully read and the doctor's instructions should be followed.

Below you have an index with the 5 points we are going to deal with in this article.


Vivelle-Dot, or any other bran name for estradiol patches, is composed of estradiol, a female sexual hormone. These patches are square-shaped and transparent and have a thickness of 0.1 millimeters. They are kept inside protective bags, which are hermetically sealed and should be directly applied to the skin.

Instructions for use

If estradiol patches are used to prepare the endometrium for an assisted reproduction treatment, the estrogenic dose should be complemented with progesterone.

The patch is directly applied on clean and dry skin, in a zone under the waist. Lotions and creams, which may alter the patches adhesive properties should not be used. The application zone shouldn't always be the same. The patient should wait at least one week before applying the patch to the same area.

Estradiol patches should be used immediately after opening the package. After discarding the protective foil, you should apply the patch to the chosen area, starting from the edges to the centre, avoiding the creation of wrinkles. Remove the second protective layer and apply the newly uncovered part. With the palm of your hand, put some pressure on the patch so it can properly adhere to your skin. Try to avoid touching the adhesive part with your fingertips during application.


Estradiol patches should not be administered in the following cases:

  • If you have, had, or think you are having breast cancer.
  • If you have allergy or hypersensitivity to any active substance or excipients.
  • If you have estrogen-dependent tumors.
  • If you have vaginal bleeding of unknown origin.
  • If you have known thrombophilic alterations.
  • If you have acute kidney or liver disorders.

If, during the use of this medicine, you have vaginal bleeding, chest pain or any other symptoms you should contact your doctor immediately.

Adverse reactions

The most common side effects occur in at least 10% of cases. These side effects are: headaches, breast tension, and allergic reactions in the area where the patches were applied.

Common reactions happen in between 10% and 1% of cases. These symptoms are: insomnia, heart palpitations, nervousness, breast growth, irregular vaginal bleeding, uterine spasms, back pain, and breast cancer.

The less common reactions (1%-0.1%) are: vertigo, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, high blood pressure, and migraines.

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 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
BSc, MSc
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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