When the time is right to have a baby, most couples assume they will be able to get pregnant naturally. For some, it might not be as easy as a romantic rendezvous. Up to 15 percent of couples have fertility problems, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fertility drugs are one of the first treatments for women who have fertility difficulties due to ovulation problems. Fertility drugs may also be used with other types of fertility treatments. Success rates using fertility drugs vary, depending on various factors, especially the age of the women, according to the American Fertility Association.
Many fertility drugs, such as Clomid, trigger ovulation or help regulate it. The medications mimic hormones produced by the body. Most fertility drugs stimulate the pituitary gland to produce hormones, such as follicle-stimulating hormone, or stimulate the ovaries directly. Others fertility drugs may be used in conjunction with certain fertility treatments, such as in-vitro fertilization.
Fertility drugs can cause a variety of side effects, depending on what medication is taken. Common side effects of Clomid include mood swings, ovarian cysts and headaches. Follicle-stimulating hormone may cause pain where the injection was given, depression and breast soreness. Other possible side effects of certain fertility drugs include nausea, dizziness and hot flashes.
Many fertility medications may increase the risk of having multiple births. Carrying multiple babies also increases the risk of miscarriage and premature births, according to the Society for Reproductive Medicine. Another complication, which can occur while taking fertility drugs, is ovarian hyperstimulating syndrome. The ovaries become enlarged to possibly twice their normal size and produce too many follicles. The syndrome can cause pain, bloating and weight gain. Symptoms usually resolve after the fertility drugs are stopped.
Although fertility drugs are more commonly prescribed for women, there are medications that may be recommended to treat problems associated with male infertility. Fertility drugs may be prescribed for men to treat hormonal problems and improve the production of sperm. Testosterone may also be prescribed for men who have a deficiency.
Certain fertility medications are taken orally, and others are taken through an injection. Women who are squeamish around needles may want to ask their partner, family member or a friend to administer the shot. Additional considerations are that fertility drugs may not be covered through some heath insurance plans and can be costly.
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