One of the more common fertility problems couples experience has to do with ovulation. Fortunately, many different medications are available to help with this. Clomiphene is often recommended first, followed by gonadotropins, aromatase inhibitors, metformin, dopamine agonists, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone, typically in that order. All of these medicines have side effects, and some of these products can increase the risk of multiple births.
What Are Ovulation-Inducing Drugs?
If you're one of the 18 percent to 25 percent of couples whose infertility is linked to ovulation problems, chances are you're either taking or are considering taking a fertility drug. With so many different fertility medications currently available, you may be feeling slightly overwhelmed by all the options. This article will give you the basic information you need to sort through the most commonly used fertility drugs.
Let's start with the basics -- what exactly are ovulation-inducing drugs? Simply put, they are medications that cause ovulation, which means they stimulate the ovaries to make and release an egg each month. The usual goal is the release of one egg, since more than one egg can increase the risk for multiple births, such as twins, triplets, or even more.
However, in some cases, fertility drugs are used in women who ovulate normally to stimulate the release of multiple eggs. This is done in the hopes that having several eggs available will increase the chance that at least one will become fertilized. Drugs are also used to regulate the release of eggs so the timing is more predictable. This can be helpful for planning sexual intercourse or assisted reproductive procedures, such as in vitro fertilization or intrauterine insemination.
Fertility medicines come as tablets that you take by mouth and injections that are given under the skin or into a muscle. Most couples start with an oral medicine and then move on to injections if that medicine doesn't work. However, there are several common causes of infertility in women, and the treatment your healthcare provider recommends first will depend on the underlying cause.
American Pregnancy Association. Infertility medications (February 2012). American Pregnancy Association Web site. Available at: http://americanpregnancy.org/infertility/infertilitymedications.html. Accessed October 5, 2013.
American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Medications for inducing ovulation (n.d.). ASRM Web site. Available at: http://www.asrm.org/Medications_for_Inducing_Ovulation/. Accessed October 4, 2013.
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