Your fertility doctor may recommend various medications for different stages in your treatment plan. Fertility medication can help stimulate ovulation or suppress menstrual cycles during IVF (in vitro fertilization) treatment. Some drugs treat underlying medical conditions impacting your fertility, while others address specific aspects of fertility.
Here’s an overview of the top medications most fertility specialists recommend:
Medications Used to Cause Ovulation
Ovulatory issues are the most common cause of infertility in women. If you don’t ovulate or experience irregular ovulation, your doctor may recommend specific medications to stimulate the process. Drugs that cause ovulation include Metformin, Clomiphene, Letrozole, Dopamine agonists, and Gonadotrophins.
Metformin/Glucophage can reduce insulin resistance in women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome). Insulin resistance impacts ovulation, so decreasing it will boost the odds of normal cycles. Dopamine agonists reduce the level of the hormone prolactin, which can cause ovulation problems in women with higher levels of the hormone.
Clomiphene (Clomid) and Letrozole (Femara) are common ovulation triggers. Most fertility specialists recommend clomiphene to women with ovulation problems. Letrozole is the ideal alternative to clomiphene in women with PCOS or obesity. Gonadotropins are a group of hormones that may feature follicle-stimulating hormones and luteinizing hormones. The combination stimulates ovarian activities, including ovulation.
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Medications To Supplement Infertility Treatment
Fertility medications can work in isolation for some people. Other cases require robust treatment plans featuring assisted reproductive technologies like IUI (intrauterine insemination) and in vitro fertilization. Women who undergo IUI or IVF are given specific medications to boost ovulation and implantation.
Other drugs improve overall health to make it easier for the body to adapt to the new development. If your fertility doctor recommends intrauterine insemination, they’ll also put you under ovulation drugs like clomiphene and letrozole. The doctor may also recommend ovulation triggers containing an HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) shot.
Progesterone is another common hormone given to sustain early pregnancy in women undergoing IUI. Women undergoing in vitro fertilization treatment also use several medications, including ovulation suppressors. The doctor will likely recommend gonadotropin antagonist hormones to delay early ovulation. You may also take ovulation drugs, trigger shots, and progesterone.
Medications for Reproductive & Other Health Issues
Your doctor may recommend different drugs during treatment. Some medications help you cope with the symptoms of pregnancy or treatment, while others promote the healthy development of the embryo or eggs. Fertility specialists can recommend aspirin or heparin if you’ve suffered a recurring miscarriage or been diagnosed with blood thrombophilia disorder.
You may also take estrogen through vaginal suppositories to help thicken the endometrial lining. Estrogen medications resolve vaginal dryness to improve the quality of cervical mucus. Infertility may stem from underlying medical conditions, like endometriosis, cancer, diabetes, heart condition, kidney disease, and more. Your doctor can provide medication to treat the condition impacting your fertility.
Medication can be anything from antibiotics for treating infections to Glucophage (metformin) for insulin resistance in those with diabetes. Other medications include Parlodel and Dostinex, dopamine agonists prescribed to suppress prolactin in those with hyperprolactinemia. The doctor may also recommend thyroid-regulating medications to lower or increase thyroid levels.
Top Medications Fertility Specialists Use
Fertility drugs come under brand names, but most feature a specific active agent. Two fertility specialists may prescribe different options based on your condition or preference. Some medications, like clomiphene and letrozole, are taken orally, while gonadotropins are injected. Here are five drugs you’ll find at your fertility clinic:
Clomid and Serophene
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) and Serophene are estrogen blockers. They cause the hypothalamus and pituitary glands to release the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. Your body needs the three hormones to mature and release eggs. Clomiphene is also used alongside treatments like IVF and IUI.
Clomiphene is effective but may not work in some women. Your doctor can recommend other injected hormones to trigger ovulation. Popular injected hormones include HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone), and HMG (human menopausal gonadotropin). Other options include GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone), GnRH agonist, and GnRH antagonist.
Working With a Reputable Fertility Doctor
Fertility medications are part of most treatment plans. You’ll encounter several brand names that might point back to the same basic formula. An example is hCG, which comes in brands like Novarel, Ovidrel, Pregnyl, and Profasi. Your doctor will determine the best medications and dosage based on your needs.
Avoid purchasing or using fertility medications without the prescription of an experienced specialist. Stick to the recommendations provided by your fertility doctor. You should also provide accurate feedback during follow-up visits so the doctor can change the medication if necessary.