Infertility in most women is caused owing to ovulation disorders. Irregular or no menstrual periods are some usual signs of women not ovulating. Ovulation induction helps treat women with irregular ovulation or anovulation.
What Is Ovulation Induction?
Ovulation induction is a fertility treatment using medications, either oral or injectable, to stimulate regular ovulation in women having absent or irregular ovulation. To stimulate ovulation or egg development and release, the process uses hormonal therapy. Studies show that about 25-30 percent of females with infertility have problems in ovulating on their own.
Ovulation generally happens once every 28 days in women with regular menstrual cycles. It occurs about 14 days before the period starts. In case of women with the average menstrual cycle of 35 days, the ovulation occurs roughly about 21 days. In normal ovulation, one of the ovaries releases a mature egg and prepares it for fertilization. Where the egg fails to fertilize, it is broken and cleared naturally from the uterus.
When ovulation is completely absent, it is called anovulation, and when it happens irregularly, it is called oligo-ovulation. Both come under ovulatory dysfunction, and affect the fertility by ovulation being completely unpredictable. With the ovulation test, you have a good chance of conception by sexual intercourse or by using any fertility treatment like intrauterine insemination (IUI).
The fertility treatment requires you to undergo medication in the beginning of your menstrual cycle, and you will be monitored using ultrasound through the cycle. At the clinic, you will know when you would ovulate, and when is the ideal time for sexual intercourse or insemination.
How to Induce Ovulation?
Ovulation is usually induced by using hormone-based medications, and you will be advised when to start them to regulate your reproductive hormones by stimulating the ovaries. Here are some commonly used fertility drugs for ovulation induction:
Also, Read: Ovulation Detection for Beginners
An oral medication, clomiphene citrate helps induce ovulation in women who have normal pituitary hormones, which do not undergo any monthly changes. By blocking estrogen receptors, the medication induces the production of follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) by creating an anti-estrogen effect in your body. Clomiphene citrate induces superovulation, which is releasing multiple eggs, by acting as a fertility agent. Monitoring is essential when taking this medication, and it is done through ultrasounds, urinary luteinizing hormone test and blood estrogen levels.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
With this injectable medication, the ovary is stimulated to produce multiple eggs during an ovulation induction cycle. Regular monitoring is essential to reduce any complications in patients, who show variable responses. Hence, there is no fixed dosage recommended, but the patient cycle is individualized to monitor the ovarian response through ultrasounds, as well as blood estrogen level tests.
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
This fertility drug is a combination of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) for inducing egg development, and it is used in the women who have extremely irregular ovulation, or no spontaneous ovulation, or to develop multiple eggs. The administration of human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG) requires individualized monitoring owing to variable responses in patients and no fixed dosage recommendations. A strong superovulation agent, this injectable medication is suggested for both IUI and IVF (in vitro fertilization).
Who Can Benefit from Ovulation Induction?
Though ovulation induction is generally meant for women with irregular or absent ovulation, there are women with other ovulation disorder problems such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), who can be benefitted by this medication. In case of those women who experience abnormal ovulation after the medication, they are tried superovulation by injecting human chorionic gonadotropin hormone to encourage the release of mature eggs in the follicle.
Nevertheless, it is up to a doctor to decide whether to use the ovulation test in a woman with infertility. He or She will usually look at:
- The patient’s hormone levels, especially FSH, LH and AMH
- Disorders such as PCOS that prevent normal ovulation
- Disorders such as eating disorders, thyroid disorders and obesity that may affect ovulation indirectly
- The daily exercise the patient does
Also, Read: Pros and Cons of Ovulation Predictor Kits
Do I Need to Have Any Other Treatment in Combination with Ovulation Induction?
As for additional treatments to increase the chance of conceiving a baby, it depends on a couple’s fertility history, as well as the male partner’s semen analysis. Generally, ovulation induction and sexual intercourse is recommended by the doctor in the normal case of infertility. In this case, your doctor after considering the ovulation induction treatment and examining the ultrasound scans will suggest the best time for intercourse, which is normally called timed sexual intercourse (TSI)
In some case, the ovulation induction treatment is combined with IUI, which is taking the sperm, and preparing them in the lab and placing them directly in the uterus to help fertilization.
Being the first treatment for infertility, ovulation induction is noninvasive, and it costs less. It is also used in conjunction with other treatments such as IUI and IVF.
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