Many couples who have had trouble trying to conceive because of fertility problems have turned to infertility treatments with great success. There are many options to choose from including tubal surgery, in vitro fertilization (IVF), artificial insemination, and others. The most common infertility treatment, however, involves hormone regulation through fertility drugs. In fact, fertility drugs have become so effective that three out of every four couples eventually are able to perceive.
The most common drug, and usually the first choice, prescribed for a woman with ovulatory dysfunction is Clomid (i.e., clomiphene citrate). Clomid basically tricks the brain into thinking that the amount of estrogen in the bloodstream is too low. It causes the hypothalamus to release more of the hormone GnRH. This in turn causes the release of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH0 which work together to stimulate the ovary to produce estrogen and eggs.
If a woman is not ovulating or is ovulating irregularly, it may be due to their pituitary glands not producing enough FSH and LH at the right time in their menstrual cycle. If this is the case, she is a good candidate for Clomid. If irregular ovulation is the only fertility related problem that a woman has, she has a one out of two chance of becoming pregnant within 6 months with Clomid.
A second class of popular fertility drug are gonadotropins. They are similar in composition to the FSH and LH hormones. Normally, FSH and LH hormones are produced by the pituitary gland. If they are not, however, gonadrotropins are used to replace the FSH and LH hormones that would normally be produced by the pituitary gland. These drugs used to be produced from the urine of menopausal women. Nowadays, however, they are genetically engineered. These drugs are not taken orally but are given by injection either in the buttocks or just under the skin.
Lesser prescribed fertility drugs include:
Human Menopausal Conadrotropins (hMG) – A purified extract of LH and FSH derived from the urine of postmenopausal women. It is injected either subcutaneous or directly into the muscle.
Human Chorionic Conadotropin (hCG) – this is a hormone that helps the ovaries produce progesterone and estrogen. Ovulation usually occurs within 36 hours after injection
Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) – this hormone triggers the pituitary gland to make the LH and FSH hormones. It is expensive and less available in the U.S. than it used to be.
Progesterone supplement – these are given to women who’s body can’t produce enough progesterone on it’s own. It is usually taken orally, but can be taken by injection as well.
As science advances, more fertility drugs come into the market every year. It’s important to note that often these drugs are not usually used alone. They are often used in combination with some other fertility treatment. Also, in many cases the cause of the infertility is not with the woman. For example, the male’s sperm may be bad. In other cases, the cause of the infertility may be with the woman, but not related to hormones. In these cases hormone treatments will be useless.