Do Fertility Drugs Trick Your Body Into Producing Eggs?
Fertility drugs are more common than ever these days, and couples have more options than ever at their disposal to help them.
Fertility problems don’t have to lead to a dead end like they once did, and the truth is, the majority of couples who experience infertility at some point in their lives are able to go on to have a successful pregnancy at some point down the line.
However, there are so many different types of fertility drugs on the market today that it can sometimes get a little confusing. Read on for more information about the different types.
Clomid is the most popular fertility drug in America, and it is prescribed more than any other drug. It is usually well received in most women, and it is usually a doctor’s “first line of defense”, and the first thing they prescribe. Clomid has been around for close to thirty years, and women have been using it with fairly good success rates all this time.
Clomid is given to women who are experiencing problems with ovulation, and sometimes for women who are dealing with unexplained infertility. Clomid is an anti-estrogen drug, which simply means that the hormones in the drug “trick” the body into producing eggs when it otherwise would not.
Women who are using IVF, or assisted reproductive techniques such as artificial insemination are often prescribed Clomid before or in conjunction with their other treatments. Most of the time doctors prescribe Clomid to be taken for five days, and the usual dosage is 50mg per day.
Clomid is usually started on day three, four or five after a woman starts her period, and continued for five days. After your fifth day, you can expect to ovulate in about a week or so. If the minimum dosage of Clomid does not induce ovulation, doctors sometimes increase the dosage up to around 150 mg.
If a woman using Clomid does not become pregnant or start ovulating within six months, doctors will usually want to move onto another form of treatment. However, between 60 and 80 percent of women who take Clomid will begin to ovulate in three months, and around 50 percent will become pregnant within three cycles as well.
Clomid’s side effects are usually fairly mild, and mimic the symptoms of pregnancy with things like weight gain, mood swings, headache, nausea and bloating. For most women, Clomid is a great first choice!
Usually, if Clomid doesn’t work in a particular case, the next form of treatment is injectable hormone therapy. There are many different types of injectable hormones, and doctors prescribe different ones depending on each particular situation.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) is one of the most common fertility injections, and it is usually used in conjunction with other medications in order to trigger the ovaries to release the mature eggs.
HCG is sold under the brand names Pregnyl, Novarel, Ovidrel, and Profasi. Follicle Stimulating Hormone, or FSH is also a common one, that is sold under the brand names of Follistim, Fertinex, Bravelle, and Gonal-F. Human Menopausal Gonadotropin, or hMG, combines both FSH and LH hormones, and is sold under the brand names of Pergonal, Repronex, and Metrodin.
All injection fertility hormones will be given at different doses, depending on the situation, and they will be injected in different body parts. Some have to be injected into the muscle, and some just have to go beneath the skin.
Doctors may suggest that the injections be given in the buttocks, upper arm, upper thigh or stomach. Injections are usually given for between seven and twelve days, with the injections starting on the first or sometimes second day of a woman’s period. Women usually give themselves the injections, or sometimes a spouse or family member will help.
Sometimes Clomid and injectable hormones are given simultaneously for the best results. Injection fertility treatments are usually very effective, with up to fifty percent of women who begin ovulating while taking them also getting pregnant.
Heparin is another drug that is sometimes used for fertility, but it is not a hormonal drug in the same way that the others are. Instead, Heparin is an anticoagulant, also known as a blood thinner. It is sometimes given in small doses along with aspirin as a form of fertility therapy.
For women who have a higher risk of miscarriage, Heparin can help to lower that risk. When a blood clot forms in the placenta, it can cause a miscarriage. Heparin helps to prevent that and in many cases can help a woman to carry a pregnancy to term.
Heparin does have a few mild to moderate side effects that many women report. Some of them include hair loss, dizziness, back pain, skin rash, headaches, slurred speech and vision changes. Heparin can really help some women, but it should also be discussed at length with a doctor before beginning Heparin, since there are some known side effects.
As you can see, there are a large number of fertility drugs on the market today, and this is not even nearly a complete list. It can be a little overwhelming, especially if you are new to fertility treatments and medications. Make sure to talk with your doctor at length before beginning any fertility treatments, and make sure that you are well informed and comfortable with any choices that you make.
Dr. Karen Leham is double board-certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and in Reproductive Endocronology and Infertility. Dr. Leham completed her residency at Loyola University, followed by a fellowship at UCLA.
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