If your fertility evaluation shows you are having problems conceiving due to abnormal hormone levels or other reproductive issues, your doctor may recommend ovulation induction, intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) as ways of enhancing fertility. During a fertility evaluation, your doctor will ask about menstrual period irregularities, how long you have been trying to get pregnant and test your blood to determine if hormonal imbalances exist. A pelvic exam may be needed so your doctor can accurately diagnose the cause of infertility.
What is Ovulation Induction?
When egg development and ovulation is impeded by abnormal hormone levels, your doctor may suggest ovulation induction, or hormonal therapy, to promote development and release of eggs. Ovulation induction increases pregnancy rates by improving the quantity and quality of ovulation. Medications such as clomiphene citrate cause ovulation by targeting estrogen receptors and making the body think there isn’t enough estrogen to induce ovulation. Consequently, women taking clomiphene citrate produce more FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) so they release multiple eggs during a menstrual cycle.
What is In Vitro Fertilization? (IVF)
Instead of relying on medications to enhance fertility, IVF is a minimally invasive procedure involving removal of a woman’s egg, which is then joined with sperm in a lab dish. Once an embryo develops from the egg and sperm, it is placed into the woman’s uterus to allow a pregnancy to continue normally. IVF is a commonly performed procedure used to help women achieve pregnancy for over 20 years.
Ovulation Induction and IUI or IVF
Also referred to as COH (controlled ovarian hyperstimulation) ovulation induction may be used before an IVF or IUI procedure. Good candidates for ovulation induction/IUI/IVF include women with unexplained infertility, mild endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome or cervical factor infertility. In couples where the man is diagnosed with male factor infertility, ovulation induction may be recommended as a way to increase fertility. Fertility doctors often propose combining ovulation induction with an IUI or IVF procedure to facilitate pregnancy.
Ovulation Induction Medications
For women ovulating irregularly or cannot spontaneously ovulate, doctors may prescribe human menopausal gonadotropin (HMG) as a method for enhancing fertility. Containing luteinizing hormone and FSH, HMG stimulates egg development and/or increases the number of eggs produced per cycle.
Women who do not have menstrual periods due to high levels of the hormone prolactin may be prescribed bromocriptine to induce ovulation and periods.
Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is another ovulation induction medication supporting normal egg development and release of eggs during ovulation. HCG is also used to treat men with low sperm counts.
To schedule a fertility evaluation appointment or to learn more about ovulation induction and IVF, please call NY Reproductive Wellness’ Long Island/Jericho office at (516) 612-8466.