Ovulation induction is a procedure that can help non-menopausal women who are not ovulating release eggs and possibly become pregnant. Ovulation induction is generally very effective and depending upon the reason for the lack of ovulation up to 80% of anovulatory (not ovulating) woman can achieve pregnancy with ovulation induction.
Ovulation induction utilizes the administration of oral or injectable medications for approximately 5 days-14 days each month in order to stimulate the release of an egg or eggs from the ovaries. These medications are often called ”fertility drugs”. There are times that through the use of ovulation induction medications two or more eggs are released at one time, leading to an increased chance for multiple pregnancy in women who take these fertility drugs.
Women with irregular cycles seeking infertility treatment can benefit from ovulation induction, especially those who have not gone through or are entering menopause and desire to get pregnant.
What Kinds of Medications Are Used for Ovulation Induction?
There are several different kinds of medications used to stimulate the ovaries and release of eggs. Clomiphene citrate therapy, also known as Clomid (brand name), is one form of medication administered orally during a woman’s menstrual cycle. Clomiphene citrate is the most prescribed fertility drug. This medication is designed to stimulate the pituitary gland (located in the brain) prompting a rise in the hormones that stimulate egg production. The overall pregnancy rates with Clomid are high in anovulatory woman, however not all woman will respond to Clomiphene citrate. Women who are obese or have certain medical conditions such as hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism are less likely to respond to this medication.
Similar to clomiphene therapy, letrozole is another form of ovulation induction therapy. Letrozole use is not indicated by the FDA for ovulation induction/ fertility therapy. Those that use Letrozole are using it off label. Letrozole has become more popular as an ovulation induction agent in the past 5 years as it has less side effects when compared to Clomiphene. Often letrozole is used for women with poor endometrial linings or those who did not respond to Clomiphene. There are many fertility specialists who like letrozole better than Clomiphene and use it first before clomiphene.
Gonadotropin therapy is a kind of medication administered as an injection and designed to stimulate the development of multiple eggs. It is much “stronger” than the oral medications, and often stimulates many more eggs to develop. This type of therapy may result in an increased risk of multiple births, and because of the increased risk of multiples some woman who do not ovulate are not good candidates for this therapy. Your fertility specialist can help determine if you are a good candidate for this therapy.
All drugs and therapies are effective and improve the chance of an anovulatory woman’s ability to get pregnant. Your Denver fertility doctor can help you decide on which therapy is best suited for you and your situation.
Dr. Deborah Smith at Rocky Mountain Fertility Center has over 20 years experience as a reproductive endocrinologist & gynecologist Denver trusts. She offers complimentary 15 minute phone consults for prospective patients, and comprehensive treatment options for those in need of family planning.
Call (303) 999-3877 for more information and scheduling!