Today, doctors have a wealth of medications with which to treat women who are infertile due to ovulation disorders. Medications for infertility can induce or regulate ovulation. Drugs such as the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH); used to set off ovulation, work like natural hormones.
Common fertility drugs include:
Clomid or Serophene (clomiphene citrate)-An oral treatment that causes the pituitary gland to release the hormones that stimulate the growth of egg containing ovarian follicles.
Repronex (human menopausal gonadotropin, or hMG)-An injection for direct stimulation of the ovaries, this drug is useful when the pituitary gland fails to stimulate ovulation and contains FSH and LH.
Gonal-F, Follistim, Bravelle (follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH)-Ovaries are stimulated causing maturation of egg follicles.
Ovidrel, Pregnyl (human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG)-This drug causes the follicle to release its egg (ovulation) and is used in combination with Clomid, Repronex, and the FSH drugs.
Factrel (gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogs or Gn-RH)-This treatment helps regulate ovulatory cycles which aid in inducing follicle growth with FSH.
Femara (letrozole)-One of a class of aromatase inhibitors and an approved treatment for advanced breast cancer, letrozole may help women who haven't responded to Clomid, though the Food and Drug Administration has not approved its use as a fertility drug, since it can cause miscarriage or birth defects.
Glucophage (metformin)-An oral drug that can boost ovulation, Glucophage is used when insulin resistance may be the cause of infertility.
Bromocriptine-Bromocriptine is used to inhibit prolactin production, one cause of irregular ovulation cycles.
Risk of Multiple Births
Fertility drugs increase your chance for multiple births. Injectable fertility drugs cause multiple pregnancies more often than oral fertility drugs. Patients on fertility drugs need careful monitoring with blood tests, hormone tests, and ultrasound tests to measure the size of ovarian follicles. In general, the risk of premature labor increases with the number of fetuses in a pregnancy. Premature babies are at increased risk of developmental and health issues. The risk increases with each baby born. This means that triplets are at greater risk than twins, for example.
Other Treatments Such As IVF and IUI
Other treatments you may need to try in conjunction with fertility drugs or after little success with fertility drugs are IVF or IUI. Learn more about these procedures such as who needs IVF or IUI, what an IVF procdure entails, what happens when you under go IUI and the success rates for these treatments.
Moral and Emotional Issues
The desire of a couple to become pregnant often trumps concerns over conceiving multiple babies. One way to improve survival rates is a multifetal pregnancy reduction in which one or more fetuses is removed. However, this procedure brings with it serious moral and emotional issues. If you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving, it's a good idea to discuss some of these issues with your physician before embarking on a course of treatment.