The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recent put out a guide for women who are considering, or are currently, engaging in ovarian stimulation therapies (infertility treatments) in order to become pregnant. There are a number of such IVF meds on the market, and each one is designed to do just a little something different.
Who is a Good Candidate for Ovarian Infertility Treatments?
Women who ovulate infrequently, have irregular periods, or whose periods have stopped, often benefit from a regimen that includes ovarian stimulation using infertility drugs. Before the doctor will even prescribe the medication, however, the condition of the ovaries must be ascertained. Women stop ovulating for many reasons, and the doctor will help a woman discover why that is. If the doctor determines that your ovaries are healthy enough for stimulation, then the infertility medications are administered.
There are many types of ovarian stimulating medications on the market that the doctor might prescribe. For women who are simply in need of a ‘jump start’, the medication Clomid (clomiphene citrate) is most often prescribed. Many of the infertility medications prescribed are used in a controlled ovarian stimulation procedure. The medications, depending on what they are, will either come in a pill form, or they will be injectable. Many women become quite proficient at giving themselves the injections, while others opt for their partners to inject them.
Women who have an ovarian disease, or who are post-menopausal, are not good candidates for this fertility treatment.
Infertility Drugs for Use With IVF Treatment
For those who are engaging in ovarian stimulation therapies for use in IVF procedures, there are a number of IVF drugs that will be prescribed. Clomid, as mentioned earlier, is one of the more popular medications, but tends to have more side effects. Metformin, of all of them, tends to have the lower side effects. Other drugs, such as Gainirelex, Menopur, Novarel/Pregnyl, and Repronex, are among some of the other follicle stimulating hormones that are used along with other fertility medications with the intention of proceeding with IVF treatments.
All of these medications offer a slightly different property to the overall “let’s make good eggs” goal. Clomid, for example, works in about 80% of patients, and an egg will be released. Most use it for up to six cycles. Women who are low on Estrogen, though, don’t typically do well on this drug. Sometimes physicians create a personalized ‘cocktail’ of fertility medications that account for the side effects, as well as provide additional support to the egg once it is released.
By far, the largest group of IVF medications prescribed are those that fall into the Gonadotrophin category. These contain follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or Lutenizing Hormone (LH). These medications simulate a woman’s natural rise and fall of hormones that bring about a healthy menstrual cycle. These typically are started on day 2 or 3 of a woman’s cycle. Most are injectable and the ovaries are monitored closely so that a woman’s ovaries don’t go haywire and overproduce (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome).
Myths Associated with Ovarian IVF Meds
There were once unfounded rumors that the IVF medications that were being prescribed for stimulating the ovaries could, in the future, cause women who took them to have ovarian cancer. The American Society for Reproductive Health has put that rumor to rest just this year, ending a decades long study. Additionally, the use of the gonadotrophins does not result in birth defects, as was once suggested. This comes as a result of nearly fifty years of clinical research and numerous trials. As a result, those who find themselves wanting to start their family, are using these infertility medications to great success.