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For women with irregular menstrual cycles, it is hard to know when or if ovulation is occurring. This makes it tricky to try for a baby. Ovulation induction treatment may be recommended to help you get pregnant.
What is ovulation?
Each month, your body has a menstrual cycle where an egg is released from the ovaries. Ovulation is when the egg is released. Ovulation occurs (on average) 14 days before the start of your period. It’s normal for women to ovulate (release the egg from the ovaries) anywhere from 12-18 days before their period starts.
What is ovulation induction treatment?
Inducing ovulation using medication (ovulation induction) allows an egg to mature and be released by the ovary. The cycle is tracked with blood tests and ultrasound, to confirm the best time to conceive.
Ovulation induction medication
There are two types of medication used to induce ovulation: tablets (oral medication) or daily injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). If you are having ovulation induction at the same time as IUI treatment, either type of medication is suitable.
The most common oral medication is Clomiphene Citrate, known as Clomid or Serophene.
Clomiphene blocks oestrogen receptors in the body. This tricks the brain into increasing hormone production to stimulate development of one or more follicles on the ovary. Follicles are the small fluid filled sacs on the ovary which contain an egg. If they develop, and mature, they release an egg (ovulation). Clomiphene is usually taken for 5 days in the first half of your menstrual cycle.
Monash IVF tip: Clomiphene may have some side effects which usually pass within a few days of stopping the medication. They include hot flushes, thickening of cervical mucus, mood changes and irritability.
Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) is a pure hormone injected daily in the first half of your menstrual cycle. It is injected just under the skin with a very fine needle (usually as a pen-device). It is easy to inject yourself with the needle, and our fertility nurses are on hand to show you how to do it and offer support.
Is ovulation induction right for me?
Ovulation induction may be the best choice if you:
- don’t have a regular cycle
- don’t have periods at all (in premenopausal patients)
- have healthy tubes
- have unexplained infertility.
Ovulation induction medications can lead to multiple follicles developing and maturing in one cycle – more than one egg may be released in ovulation. This means there’s a higher chance of multiple pregnancy. This can be a risk to mother and babies. Your fertility specialist will use blood tests and ultrasound to track ovulation and check on how many follicles mature.