Infertility is a challenging journey, and it can be confusing to sift through the array of possible treatment options. One of the first treatments recommended by many fertility doctors is ovulation induction. This procedure involves taking medication to tell your ovaries to produce an egg. It can be an effective intervention for women who have difficulty conceiving. Read more about how long ovulation induction takes and the timeline for undergoing this fertility treatment.
What Is Ovulation Induction?
Ovulation is the process by which the ovaries release an egg, providing a window of opportunity for fertilization to occur. In healthy women, ovulation occurs once per menstrual cycle. For women struggling with infertility, ovulation may not occur regularly. The purpose of ovulation induction is to use medications to stimulate ovulation, providing an opportunity to conceive a baby.
Before undergoing ovulation induction, your doctor will perform a thorough fertility evaluation. The purpose of this evaluation is to determine possible causes of infertility. This could mean problems with the woman’s reproductive system, with the man’s reproductive system, or both. Once the underlying issues have been determined, interventions such as ovulation induction may be attempted.
Who Is a Good Candidate for Enhancing Fertility through Ovulation Induction?
In general, the best candidates for ovulation induction are women whose ovaries are not working properly on their own. This procedure is typically not indicated for male factor infertility, as it depends on healthy sperm to fertilize the egg. However, individuals using donor sperm may still consider ovulation induction.
Ovulation induction is often used in conjunction with intrauterine insemination, or IUI. This is a procedure in which healthy sperm are deposited directly into the uterus. IUI can be timed to correspond to the peak fertility induced by the medications. This is one of the best ways to optimize the fertility window and increase the likelihood of success.
How Long Does Ovulation Induction Take?
Before beginning ovulation induction, your doctor may order a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) procedure to determine whether your fallopian tubes are open. Then, you will be prescribed medication to induce fertility. There are several options for fertility medications. Clomiphene, or Clomid, may be taken in tablet form. This is usually prescribed from days 4 through 8 of the cycle. Alternatively, injections of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) may be performed from day 4 or 5 and continue daily until midway through your cycle (day 14). A nurse will show you how to perform the injections so that you can do them at home.
During this time, blood tests will be performed to determine when your uterus is ready. At the appropriate time, a “triggering” injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) stimulates ovulation. Insemination through IUI occurs 36 to 48 hours later, and fertility success may be determined through a pregnancy test on day 28.