Ovulation induction is often used for women trying to become pregnant who are looking to boost fertility chances or who have had a history of irregular or absent menstrual cycles.
If a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular or absent, it may mean that an egg is not being released. Ovulation induction is a process that utilizes fertility medications. The medication stimulates the ovarian follicles to release several eggs instead of only one or none. This process is also used for in vitro fertilization.
Medications control the time of ovulation, so there will be a predetermined time recommended for sexual intercourse, in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination procedures in order to ensure the greatest potential for success.
The process of using medications to stimulate the release of several eggs may also be referred to as superovulation or controlled ovarian stimulation.
The primary risk of ovulation induction is the potential for multiple births, occurring when multiple eggs become successfully fertilized. Other risks include the development of ovarian cysts.
The following are several commonly used fertility medications:
Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid, Serophone) is an oral medication that is used if a woman has infrequent or long menstrual cycles. It may also be used for the release of two eggs instead of only one.
Glucophage (or Metformin) is used to lower a patient’s insulin level. This medication has been proven to help reverse endocrine abnormalities associated with polycystic ovarian syndrome in just several months’ time.
Gonadotropins (Repronex, Follistim, Bravelle, Pergonal, GonalF) are injectable medications used to create follicles. This is used in conjunction with other medications that stimulate ovulation.
hCG is an injectable medication used to induce an eggs’ release.
Parlodel lowers a patient’s prolactin levels in order to stimulate ovulation. This is an oral medication.
Depending on the cause of infertility, different levels of ovulation induction are utilized.
For example, a woman who has problems ovulating but no other infertility issues may be required to take five days worth of clomiphene citrate at the beginning of her cycle. Nearly 80 percent will ovulate while using the medication, and half of those will successfully conceive.
Superovulation is a more aggressive level of ovulation induction. This may use a combination of clomiphene and gonadotropins, or solely gonadotropins, to stimulate multiple egg production. During this process, patients are monitored closely to ensure the correct dosages are given. At the conclusion of the process, hCG may be given in order to stimulate ovulation, which will occur 24 to 36 hours later. The success rate for this treatment cycle ranges between 10 to 20 percent, based on age.