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Ovulation Induction/Controlled Ovarian Stimulation

The first step of your infertility treatment process is your fertility evaluation and consultation. During this very important visit, all treatment options will be explained to you in great detail, along with their side effects, risks as well as success rates so you can decide which fertility treatment option is best for you and your family.

During a regular ovulation cycle, there is a surge in both the luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone levels. These hormones help eggs release, grow, and mature so they can be ready for fertilization. Unfortunately, the slightest hormonal imbalance can disrupt this very delicate process and lead to infertility. If an imbalance occurs, ovulation induction medications can help solve infertility issues.

For most patients, infertility treatment consists of taking fertility medications (ovulation induction) in conjunction with egg collection and freezing, intrauterine insemination (IUI), or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Typically, women who are struggling with infertility will be divided into 2 groups depending on whether they are ovulating or not.

Ovulation induction medications, which are often referred to as fertility drugs, are used to help stimulate the development and growth of eggs when a hormonal imbalance is present. The type of fertility drug used will depend on your diagnosis and the goal of your specific treatment. Usually, for these patients, fertility pills are all that is needed to achieve successful results.

For women who struggle with regular ovulation cycles, such as those with conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which causes infrequent or absent ovulation and periods, fertility medication is used to help balance hormone levels. The goal of treatment in this class of patients is to help them produce 1 egg during an ovulation cycle in order to conceive.

For women who are already ovulating and have regular monthly periods, the goal of ovulation induction medication is to produce 2-3 eggs. Multiple eggs help increase the chances of successful conception. These medications control the time of ovulation and release of eggs, so sexual intercourse, egg collection, intrauterine insemination, and in vitro fertilization procedures can be scheduled for the most likely time to achieve pregnancy.
The process of producing multiple eggs is called controlled ovarian hyperstimulation” or “superovulation”. When a patient experiences superovulation they must be closely monitored. A doctor will do this by taking blood tests and performing ultrasounds during this period. This monitoring ensures that the patient does not hyperstimulate and also helps the physician administer the correct dosage of medication so that only a few follicles develop at one time.
This is a critical step to keep multiple pregnancy rates low. At the end of the superovulation process, once the follicles develop and the eggs are ready to be released, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is usually prescribed to stimulate ovulation, allowing the eggs to be fertilized.
It is important to be aware of the risks associated with the use of ovulation induction medications.
Some of these risks may include the development of ovarian cysts or a possible increase in the chance of high order multiple births. A rare side effect that can occur is ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS); who could present symptoms such as pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or chest, weight gain, nausea, bloating, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. For this reason, it is best that these medications are prescribed by board certified Infertility Specialists.
During your initial evaluation your fertility doctor will go through all the side effects and potential risks involved in this treatment process, so you can make the right decision for you and your family.
If you are curious about infertility treatments or are looking for resources to find infertility clinics near you, Fertility Finders is here to help. We’ll set you up with the right fertility doctors and clinics so you can begin your fertility journey as soon as you’re ready! We’re always available to help guide you toward the best treatment options for your own unique needs, giving you all the tools you need to start building your family right away.

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