Ovulation induction is a process where you take fertility medications to stimulate the release of one or more eggs from your ovary. Medicine provided with this treatment can help you or your partner develop a mature egg if you can’t ovulate or ovulate irregularly. During the initial consultation your doctor will address any concerns you may have of this treatment and provide you with a solution that works best for you.
Depending on your needs, your doctor may recommend one of several treatments:
Ovulation induction medication
There are two types of ovulation induction medications: oral and injectables. Your doctor will usually provide you with either clomopheneoral or letrozole tablets as a first-line treatment if you are unable to ovulate or ovulate infrequently. These tablets are easily administrable, have minimal side effects, offer a lower cost, decrease your risk of multiple pregnancies, and involve less monitoring.
However, if you've tried oral medication without successful ovulation, your doctor will ask you to consider injectables such gonadotropins as another form of infertility medication.
Your doctor will also use clomiphene or gonadotropins for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.
What to expect during the ovulation induction process
Here’s what you can expect during an ovulation induction treatment:
- In most cases, you’ll take clomiphene pills orally or inject gonadotropins under your skin once in the evening (e.g., between 5 PM and 8 pm).
- After taking the clomiphene or after a few days of injections, your doctor will ask you to take part in a pelvic ultrasound to measure follicle growth. You also may be asked to take a blood test to measure hormone levels.
- Depending on the results of these tests, your doctor will then advise you to increase or decrease the gonadotropin dose.
- If you don’t ovulate independently, the goal is to have one follicle approximately appear at 15 to 18 mm in size. If three or more follicles (greater than 15 mm each) appear, your physicians will advise you to cancel the cycle due to a risk of becoming pregnant with twins, triplets, etc.
- In some situations, your doctor will advise you to convert the cycle to include In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), which allows the doctor to control the number of embryos placed in the uterus.
Note: Your doctor may request you to repeat blood testing and pelvic ultrasound during a cycle.
Ovulation induction outcomes
The goal of this treatment is to have one follicle grow around your viable egg. Your doctor can cancel the cycle if you develop too many eggs, which increases the risk of multiple pregnancies.
In some situations, the cycle may be converted to an IVF treatment, allowing your doctor control over the number of embryos placed in your uterus.
Side effects of ovulation induction
The side effects of these medications are usually minimal. These include but are not limited to:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Sleep disturbances
- Mild nausea
- Abdominal discomfort
- Mood changes
In rare cases, Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) can occur.
Read more about OHSS ➜
If you are already ovulating but experience infertility, your doctor can provide the same procedures outlined above to increase the number of ovulated eggs per cycle. This process is called Superovulation or Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH).
Fertility services available with ovulation induction