Ovulation Induction

Patient and Doctor at OHSU

When you ovulate, your body releases an egg from your ovary. The egg passes down the fallopian tube to your uterus.  In order for a pregnancy to occur, a sperm must find its way into (fertilize) the egg. Then the fertilized egg implants into the wall of your uterus, and the pregnancy grows.

One way to improve the chances of a sperm fertilizing an egg is to use medication. The medication stimulates the ovaries to grow and release several eggs (follicles) at a time. The goal is to create multiple “targets” for the sperm to fertilize. There are two main types of medications used to stimulate the ovaries. There are oral medications (pills that you take by mouth) and inject able gonadotropin medications (shots you give yourself with a syringe).

Oral medications

Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid ©, Serophene©)

Clomiphene works by causing your pituitary gland to release more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) than usual. Your ovaries respond to this elevated FSH level by making more follicles and increasing your estrogen levels.

These medications are used early in your menstrual cycle, usually starting cycle days 3-7 or 5-9. Approximately one week later; mature egg/eggs (Oocyte) should be released by a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. You will then be instructed to have intercourse or intrauterine insemination at a specific time/day. This should lead to fertilization and successful pregnancy.

Injectable gonadotropins

Follistim©, Gonal-F©, Menopur©, Repronex©

These medications contain either FSH alone or are a blend of FSH and LH hormones. If you are using these injectable medications, you will usually begin on cycle day 2 or 3. You will continue to use them for an average of 10-12 days. If you are taking these medications you will be monitored very closely with ultrasounds and Estradiol levels during your treatment cycles. Once follicles reach a mature size, you will be instructed to inject HCG. This injection is to finish maturing the egg and cause ovulation (releasing the egg/eggs). You will then be scheduled for intrauterine insemination 36 hours later.

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