Womens Health

Popular Fertility Drugs

So you're trying to get pregnant. You've followed your fertility specialist's advice and you've made a serious effort to eat well and cut out alcohol, caffeine and smoking. You've been exercising and trying to track your ovulation but all to no avail. Your fertility specialist may now decide that it's time to try fertility treatment in the form of drugs. Clomiphene (also known as clomid) and gonadotropins are two of the most commonly-prescribed fertility drugs. Read on to find out more.


Clomiphene is produced under several brand names, the most widely-known of which is probably "clomid." This drug is generally the first port of call for any fertility specialist when prescribing drug treatment to a new patient. Because clomiphene induces ovulation, it is usually prescribed to women who suffer from irregular ovulation or who perhaps don't ovulate at all. Women with PCOS or unexplained infertility problems may also be prescribed clomiphene as a first step in the fertility treatment process. One pill is usually taken on five consecutive days per month. Ovulation usually occurs between five and nine days after the last pill is taken.

How Does Clomiphene Work?

Clomiphene attaches itself to parts of the brain called estrogen receptors. These receptors are what enable your brain to tell accurately how much estrogen is in your body and whether or not your body needs to produce more or less. Clomiphene blocks these receptors and tricks your brain into thinking that your estrogen levels are lower than they really are. These "low" oestrogen levels trigger the production of Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone, or GnRH, which in turn stimulates your pituitary gland into producing Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH).The FSH prompts the follicles on your ovaries to grow larger and as this happens, the level of oestrogen in your body increases. These higher oestrogen levels cause your hypothalamus to release Luteinising Hormone (LH), this is known as an LH surge. This surge triggers the release of a mature egg from the follicles in the ovaries and into the fallopian tubes. And there you have it - ovulation! Now what you have to do is make sure that egg gets fertilized!


Gonadotropins or Human Menopausal Gonadotropins (hMG) also produce a hormonal reaction in the body which stimulates the ovaries into producing a mature egg, ready for fertilization. In the case of hMGs, injections are usually administered to the patient for seven to 12 days. These injections stimulate the production of FSH and LH, which tell the ovaries to develop and release an egg. This allows the patient to time sexual intercourse around the most fertile part of her cycle.

If you take either of these drugs, your doctor or fertility specialist should monitor you to determine whether or not eggs are being produced, and when they are likely to be released. You should be aware that these fertility drugs increase the chances of your ovaries releasing several eggs at once, which could lead to a multiple pregnancy. The drugs may also have unwanted side effects. You should ask your doctor for more information about these.


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