Sometimes, infertility is a relatively simple matter. If you don’t ovulate regularly, perhaps because you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or another condition that makes it difficult, you may need a little boost. Enter ovulation-inducing drugs such as clomiphene citrate (Clomid®.)
Often, ovulation-inducing drugs can make conception possible, especially if we combine them with intrauterine insemination (IUI). Dr. Edward J. Ramirez of the Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF explains more about these procedures and their potential success rates.
When you might need ovulation induction
If you ovulate but not at predictable intervals, ovulation induction can be a good choice. You get a prescription for clomiphene citrate from Dr. Ramirez, who will then have you monitor for signs of ovulation.
When you take ovulation-inducing drugs like Clomid, you are more likely to have predictable timing for ovulation. Knowing when you’re ovulating can often be enough to facilitate conception, especially if you’ve had trouble predicting it before.
Is the need for ovulation induction common?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, is one of the most frequent causes of irregular or nonexistent ovulation. PCOS causes an imbalance of female hormones, which makes it difficult to predict when you’ll ovulate.
PCOS affects at least 10% of women. However, many women don’t know that they have PCOS until they try to conceive and discover that they can’t. Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular body hair growth (often more hair than usual)
- Irregular or missing periods
- Weight gain, especially around the middle of the body
People with PCOS are at greatly increased risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, metabolic syndrome, and heart disease. It’s important to know that this condition has multiple effects on your health, even outside of its impacts on conception and pregnancy.
When you take ovulation-inducing drugs, Dr. Ramirez will often also perform an intrauterine insemination, or IUI, especially because many men have less than optimal sperm counts.
When you get an IUI, your partner comes into the office and provides a sperm sample. The sperm sample is washed and concentrated, then injected into your uterus using a long syringe. The concentrated sperm sample is thus in the best possible position to allow conception to occur.
According to Yale Medicine, ovulation induction brings a 20 to 25% chance of pregnancy.
How it works
You’ll come into the office around day three of your menstrual cycle and have blood drawn. If you’re taking Clomid, you’ll take it from days 3 to 7; if you’re taking Femara® (letrozole), you’ll take it from days 5 to 9.
On day 10 or 11, you’ll come back in for a pelvic ultrasound, or use at an-home ovulation test, to check for egg development. If enough eggs are developing, you’ll want to time conception for your peak days of ovulation, which the home test or the doctor can tell you.
If it succeeds, you’ll move on to pregnancy management. If your ovulation induction is unsuccessful, we can try again on your next cycle or decide together if you want to move on to more advanced forms of infertility treatment, like in-vitro fertilization.
If you are experiencing difficulty with conceiving a child, contact Dr. Edward J. Ramirez at the Fertility & Gynecology Center - Monterey Bay IVF in Monterey, California via phone or message. Your path to parenthood may begin as soon as you call.