Fertility medication 101
For many women struggling to conceive, a little fertility medication can go a long way toward building a future family. For some, a few pills are all that’s needed to awaken your ovaries and get you ovulating again. For others, injectable fertility medications may be necessary to give you the best chance for success.
When you seek treatment from our Louisiana fertility specialists, your fertility medication protocol will be developed based on the results of your fertility testing. No two infertility cases are alike, so resist the urge to compare your protocol to other women’s medication regimens that you may read about online. To understand why your fertility specialist chooses specific medications for you, it helps to know a little about what each type of medication does.
Different kinds of fertility medication
For many years, the most commonly prescribed fertility medication for ovulatory issues was Clomid®, also known as clomiphene citrate or Serophene®. Taken in pill form and timed with specific days of your menstrual cycle, this estrogen-blocker has been safely used for decades. Over the last decade or so, the physicians at Fertility Answers have shifted to using an alternative to Clomid called letrozole or Femara®. Letrozole seems to have fewer side effects and is better tolerated by many patients. Either way, the goal of both clomiphene and letrozole are to produce a mature egg. They can be used during natural cycles (with timed intercourse) or as part of intrauterine insemination (IUI) cycle. Because this fertility medication can increase your chances of having twins or more, you’ll need to be closely monitored by your fertility specialist while taking it.
For women who need IVF, birth control pills may be used first to control cysts and cycle timing, followed by injectable fertility medication to recruit as many eggs as possible.
- GnRH agonists, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (Lupron®), and GnRH antagonists, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists (Antagon®, Cetrotide®), prevent your ovaries from releasing eggs too soon.
- FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone (Follistim®, Gonal-F®), prompts your ovaries to grow multiple follicles, which contain the eggs, at once.
- hMG, or human menopausal gonadotropin (Repronex®, Menopur®), stimulates the ovaries and prompts estrogen production to build your uterine lining.
- hCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin (Ovidrel®, Pregnyl®), is the “trigger shot” used to make your ovaries release eggs when they are ready.
Injections usually need to be done daily, typically in your belly, thigh or upper arm. If you’re needle-shy, don’t worry. Countless women have discovered that with a little coaching, it’s easy to overcome this fear. After training, many women are proud to tell our Louisiana fertility specialists that they can even do the injections on their own. Learn more about how to give injections with these instructional videos.
Trust your physician
Different combinations and doses of fertility medication may be used at different times in your cycle, depending on your specific situation and medication response. Your fertility specialist will customize your fertility medication protocol just for you, with a goal of producing enough eggs to maximize your chance of success.
To learn more about fertility medications and find out what protocol is best for you, contact us to schedule a consultation with one of our Louisiana fertility specialists.