Ovulation induction

Ovulation induction involves the controlled administration of fertility medication that stimulate the ovaries to produce one or more eggs, depending on the circumstances. Ultrasound scans and blood tests are usually undertaken cycle monitoring to ensure that 1) you are responding to the medications and 2) to time either intercourse or artificial insemination.

There are various medications that are commonly used. The first two of these are given in a tablet form, and are called Clomiphene citrate (Clomid or Serophene) and Letrozole (Femara). Clomiphene and Letrozole work by stimulating your pituitary gland to release more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), which is the hormone required to stimulate egg development. Normally this is given at the beginning of the menstrual cycle for several days. Often an additional hormone injection - human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is given when the eggs are mature to ensure that they are released from the ovaries.

The second type of fertility medication that can be used is the hormone injection known as a gonadotrophins (these contain a purified form of the hormone FSH and possibly some LH hormone). There are a variety of gonadotrophin preparations available (some common proprietary names include Gonal-F, Puregon, Menopur, Repronex, Luveris and Bravelle). Gonadotrophin injections are given on a daily basis to try and stimulate the development of mature follicle(s) (egg sacs), which is/are then followed by use of an hCG injection when the follicle has reached an appropriate size.

The success of this type of treatment depends on many factors, such as age, sperm counts, presence of endometriosis etc. Each cycle a couple undergoes will have a certain probability of resulting in a conception. It often takes a number of months of ovulation induction treatment to conceive. If conception does not occur with this method, your doctor will usually recommend other types of treatments.