Infertility Treatments Using Fertility Drugs

LAST MODIFIED: Thursday, April 25, 2019
woman using hormone shot in stomach

If you are unable to conceive owing to ovulation disorders, fertility drugs may be able to help you to become pregnant.

A variety of drugs are used, but only a few approaches are commonly used.


Clomid or Serophene

The active ingredient in Clomid or Serophene is clomiphene citrate. They suppress estrogen secretion and promote higher levels of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Their effect is to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. You will be started on a low dose that will be increased if the treatment fails to help you ovulate. If the treatment has failed after six months of medication, another approach can be tried. 60 – 80 percent of women who use this treatment will ovulate successfully and about half of these will become pregnant. Your chance of a multiple birth is increased, but not as much as when injectable hormones are used to treat infertility.


Injectable hormones

If Clomid doesn’t work for you, your doctor will try other methods to promote ovulation. Some of the hormones used in infertility treatments include:

  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)
  • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH)
  • Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG)
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)
  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Antagonist

You’ll be going for hormone injections and sometimes, these will be combined with Clomid. These treatments are very effective in inducing ovulation and about half of the women who ovulate will become pregnant. Once again, the chances of a multiple pregnancy are substantially increased.


Other drugs

So far, we’ve been looking at drugs that can be used to promote ovulation, however, some women are infertile owing to other reasons, and that means that other drugs might be beneficial in ensuring a healthy pregnancy.

For example, some women are prone to early miscarriages and in that case, old-fashioned Aspirin could be of help. You can also find out whether Heparin might be able to help you to prevent spontaneous miscarriage.

Premature ovulation can be a problem in women undergoing fertility treatments and Antagon is injected to prevent this.

A pituitary tumor can cause a decrease in ovulation and reducing its size could make all the difference. In this eventuality Parlodel or Dostinex can be administered. Both of these come in pill format.


Side effects

Although several minor side effects (and in rare cases more serious ones) are listed for each fertility treatment, the greatest risk associated with fertility drugs is that of multiple births. Although this might sound pretty good to couples who would love to get their families started, multiple births place both the babies and the mother at risk. There’s an increased possibility of miscarriage and premature birth.

So what are your chances? If you’re using Clomid on its own, you stand a 10% chance of a multiple pregnancy (usually twins). Gonadotropins and other hormones could boost your chances of a multiple pregnancy by 10 – 40%. That’s why doctors will try Clomid first and only progress to hormonal treatments if Clomid proves ineffective.

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