Fertility Medication for Women

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Thanks to modern science and technology, couples who struggle with infertility have numerous options when it comes to attempting to get pregnant. You and your partner can choose between drugs, surgical options or assisted reproductive therapy, such as in vitro fertilization. Often, fertility drugs are used along with in vitro to improve your chances of becoming pregnant.

Types

Clomiphene citrate is a commonly prescribed fertility drug. Women who have polycystic ovary syndrome often find clomiphene citrate to be effective, as do women with unexplained fertility. Clomiphene citrate is taken orally. Gonadotropins work slightly differently than clomiphene. They are usually delivered through an injection. If clomiphene citrate didn’t help a woman conceive, she may have better luck with gonadotropins. A third type of drug, bromocriptine, is used in rare cases when a woman has a tumor on her pituitary gland that interferes with ovulation.

How They Work

Fertility drugs work by stimulating either the pituitary gland or the ovaries to improve your chance of ovulating and releasing a viable egg. Clomiphene citrate stimulates the pituitary gland, forcing it to release follicle-stimulating hormoneand luteinizing hormone, which tell the ovaries to ovulate. Human menopausal gonadotropin also contains FSH and luteinizing hormone. Instead of working on the pituitary gland, hMG stimulates the ovaries. In some cases, a woman may receive injections of FSH alone. She may also receive human chorionic gonadotropin in addition to clomiphene or hMG.

Risks and Side Effects

Fertility drugs come with a couple of risks. Taking the drugs increases your chance of carrying more than one baby at a time. The risk of multiple babies is lower with clomiphene than it is for gonadotropins and ranges from less than 10 to 20 percent. Some women may develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, in which the ovaries become enlarged and painful. Most of the other side effects from fertility drugs are mild and include nausea, bloating, tenderness of the abdomen and dizziness.

Paying for the Drugs

The price of fertility drugs ranges from around $50, as of 2010, for a course of clomiphene, not including the cost of the doctor’s visit and any follow-up consultation or insemination, to nearly $5,000 for a course of gonadotropins, which includes the doctor’s visits and follow-up, according to Baby Center. It’s always a good idea to consult with your insurance policy beforehand to see if they will cover fertility procedures.

Length of Treatment

You take clomiphene citrate for five days in a row a few days into your menstrual cycle. In some cases, your doctor may need to prescribe medroxyprogesterone acetate, which will bring your period on so that you can begin treatment, according to Baby Center. You should begin to ovulate about a week after the final dose. You may need to take the drug for a few months before you begin to ovulate regularly. If you take gonadotropins, you will need to receive an injection daily for seven to 12 days, over the course of a few months.

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