What Is an Ovulation Induction?

Ovulation induction can be part of the in vitro fertilization procedure or performed to control ovulation and increase the chances of fertilization during an intrauterine insemination or sexual intercourse. Drugs or injections will be administered and these will stimulate the follicles so that several eggs may result in a single cycle.

Ovulation Induction

Ovulation induction may be recommended in female patients who are trying to get pregnant and may have failed due to a lack of ovulation or various other causes. Normally, each month an ovary will release an egg and this can be fertilized if it meets sperm cells within a timeframe of 12 to 24 hours. The drugs and injections administered will stimulate the maturation of several eggs at a time and this will increase the chances of a successful fertilization, which can be performed naturally or artificially (i.e. in vitro). The ovulation induction treatment may be administered for one or several months, until the desired results are obtained. The ovulation induction treatment has a few side effects and risks, which should be discussed prior to the administration.

Ovulation Induction Medication

The medications that are used to induce ovulation include:

  • Clomiphene citrate, also known as Clomid or Serophone, and is recommended in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or women with irregular menstrual cycles and lack of ovulation. The medication will also reduce the symptoms that accompany PCOS. The drug should be taken for five days, starting from the first day of the menstrual cycle. Over 80% of women with an anovulation experienced ovulation after a Clomid treatment and over 50% of these get pregnant.
  • Gonadothropins such as Follistim or Bravelle are considered a more aggressive type of treatment and can be administered in the form of injections. These medications can regulate the production of hormones and help in conditions such as PCOS, which interfere with fertility. The gonadotrophins will cause a phenomenon known as superovulation, which means that if the patient gets pregnant, there may be twins or even triplets.
  • Metformin or glucophage is an insulin lowering medication that can be used in women with PCOS and will normalize their menstrual cycle.
  • Parlodel is used when there are high prolactin levels.

The effects of these ovulation induction drugs or injections will be monitored through ultrasounds and the doctor will establish the probable time of ovulation.

Side Effects of Ovulation Induction Medication

Ovulation induction medications may have a few side effects such as:

  • Headaches
  • Hot flashes
  • Weight gain
  • Increased appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability

Risks of Ovulation Induction

When you will start an ovulation induction treatmnet, you should be aware of the possible dangers of this type of treatment. There are a few risks linked to ovulation induction, including:

  • Occurrence of ovarian cysts
  • Multiple pregnancies after one single fertilization procedure
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which causes abdominal pain, vomiting, breathing problems and possibly weight gain