When you and your partner struggle with infertility, one of the main factors we look at during your fertility workups is whether or not your ovaries produce, mature, and release at least one egg every month. Irregular ovulation makes it difficult to time intercourse to increase the chances of sperm meeting an egg.
Many women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) ovulate irregularly. In some cases, your ovaries may not be releasing eggs at all. In cases like these, your fertility specialist may recommend ovulation induction.
Ovulation induction may be recommended if you’re LGBTQ and are using a surrogate to carry your child. It’s also used if your female partner will carry embryos created with your eggs in her uterus.
Ovulation induction may be performed as a single therapy or combined with other fertility treatments, including intrauterine insemination (IUI). If you’ve moved on from the simplest types of assisted-reproductive technologies (ART) to in vitro fertilization (IVF), ovulation induction is part of the process to increase your chances of creating healthy embryos.
You also go through ovulation induction if you donate or freeze your eggs. Again, removing multiple eggs per cycle increases the odds of success for any fertility procedure.
At OC Fertility in Newport Beach, California, expert OB/GYNs Sharon Moayeri, MD, Nidhee Sachdev, MD, and our team want you to achieve your goals, whether building your own family or helping someone else build theirs through egg donation. If you’re about to go through the ovulation induction process, here’s what to expect.
First, you take fertility drugs
If you’re a candidate for ovulation induction, we usually start you on oral fertility medications. Two possibilities are clomiphene citrate (i.e., Seraphene® or Clomid®) or letrozole (i.e., Femara®). You take oral medications either between days three and seven of your cycle or between days five and nine.
You may also benefit from injectable fertility medications that help stimulate egg production and release. You may be prescribed:
- Human menopausal gonadotropine (Pergonal®, Humegon®, Repronex®)
- Follicle stimulating hormone (Follistim/Gonal-F,® Bravelle®)
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (Profasi®, Pregnyl®, Ovidrel®)
- Leuprolide (Lupron) and synthetic gonadotropin (FSH/LH) inhibitor
We can administer injections in the office or teach you how to administer them yourself. You receive your first injection on day 3 of your cycle and then daily for 6-10 days, depending on how you respond.
You may feel crampy or bloated
Fertility medications supplement or boost your hormones and may create some of the same symptoms that hormones create during your menstrual cycle. For instance, you may have:
- Tender breasts
- Pelvic pressure
- Abdominal pain
- Mood swings
Some drugs, such as Lupron, may send you into temporary menopause, which could cause you to experience hot flashes and night sweats, among other issues. Oral medications tend to have fewer and milder side effects than injectables.
We monitor your eggs’ progress
In addition to taking medications, you must come into our office regularly so that we can monitor your ovaries. We use ultrasound images to measure how many eggs your ovary has released, how many are maturing, and when they’re ready for fertilization.
We may also monitor your egg production by measuring the amount of estrogen in your blood. Once your eggs are ready, we may recommend one of the following three options: extract the eggs during a simple in-office procedure that resembles taking a Pap smear; you and your partner have intercourse; or we perform in-office IUI with your partner’s donated sperm.
Understand the odds
With ovulation induction alone, most women have a 20%-25% pregnancy success rate per cycle. That’s even better than the odds of pregnancy per cycle of a young couple with no fertility issues, which runs from 15%-25%.
If you combine ovulation induction with IUI, your odds may increase, depending on your age and other factors. Young women who combine ovulation induction with IUI may have a success rate as high as 50% throughout 3-6 cycles of treatment.
Be prepared for multiples
One potential downside to ovulation induction is that once you become pregnant, you may actually have more than one baby. Anywhere from 5%-30% of women who become pregnant after ovulation induction may give birth to twins or other multiples.
However, depending on what other ART treatments you use, we minimize your risk for multiples at your request. For instance, during IVF, we may only implant a single, healthy embryo. You can freeze any unused eggs or embryos for future use.
You don’t have to keep dreaming of your future family; you can make it a reality with ovulation induction. Call us today at 949-706-2229 or book an appointment online.