Understanding Fertility Drugs
Fertility medications are a key part of treatment for many types of infertility including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies.
Many patients are successfully treated with fertility drugs alone. These medications stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and prepare the body to receive an embryo. The physicians in our Central Florida locations commonly prescribe several different types of fertility medication.
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid® or Serophene®) is an oral fertility medication that works by triggering the body to produce more of its own follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This oral medication is often among the first used for ovulation induction and has few side effects. Generally there is a 7-8% chance for multiple gestation, most of which are twins.
Letrozole (Femara®) is an oral ovulation induction agent which works directly upon the ovaries. It has fewer side effects than clomiphene citrate and it has less risk for multiple gestation.
Commonly used for ovulation induction during in vitro fertilization, gonadotropins are a class of injectable fertility drugs that directly stimulate the ovaries. Gonadotropins, such as Bravelle®, Follistim® and Gonal-F®, are made from highly purified follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and cause the ovaries to develop and mature multiple eggs at once.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG (Ovidrel®), is a hormone that is normally released by the body after an embryo has implanted in the uterine lining. However, its effects on the body are similar to those of luteinizing hormone (LH), which initiates the final maturation and release of the egg(s) from the ovary. hCG is generally used to trigger ovulation in combination with other fertility drugs.
Women who are administered hCG should be aware that pregnancy tests work by detecting this hormone. Therefore, an at-home pregnancy test can produce a false positive by detecting residual amounts of hCG from treatment. Only a laboratory test that measures actual hCG levels can confirm pregnancy in such cases.
Human Menopausal Gonadotropin
Commonly known as Repronex® or Menopur®, human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) contains both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Like the Gonadotropins listed above, hMG is an injectable fertility medication used in ovulation induction, both in and out of the IVF settings.
Progesterone is an ovarian hormone necessary for the support of the early embryo. Without it, the uterine lining will not adequately thicken and implantation will not take place. Women who undergo egg retrieval for in vitro fertilization are generally prescribed progesterone supplements, because some of the cells that normally produces progesterone are removed.
For more information about fertility drugs, please contact us in Orlando at our Winter Park office or at our other office in Celebration, Florida.