Summary

Here is a summary of the medications discussed in this chapter.

Clomid

• This is often the first medication that fertility patients receive because it helps to regulate ovulation and is relatively inexpensive.

• Clomid is one of the few fertility medications taken orally.

• Approximately 80 percent of women taking Clomid will ovulate.

• If you don't become pregnant after about six cycles of using Clomid, you are unlikely to become pregnant from this medication.

Gonadotropins

• The purpose of using a gonadotropin medication is to stimulate ovulation and encourage follicle development to produce more eggs.

• Gonadotropins are available either in a man-made form produced from recombinant DNA technology or from the purified urine of menopausal women. Your doctor will determine which is best for you.

• Medical research shows that more than 80 percent of women taking gonadotropins will ovulate.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Agonists (GnRHa)

• This medication is often used as part of your IVF protocol to suppress your own body's hormones. Once they are shut down, gonadotropins are given to induce ovulation. This technique allows your doctor to precisely control your hormones and ovulation.

• Another use for this medicine is for the treatment for painful endometriosis. Once GnRHa has shut down your hormones and stopped your periods, the unpleasant endometriosis symptoms stop. However, you cannot become pregnant during this time; therefore, this is seen as temporary relief treatment.

Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Antagonists (GnRH antagonists)

• Just like GnRHa, this relatively new class of medications may be used as part of your IVF cycle to suppress your own body's hormones. Afterward, the gonadotropins will be administered to induce ovulation.

• Some doctors prefer GnRH antagonists instead of GnRHa because they are thought to work faster and more effectively. Other doctors disagree.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

• This hormone is produced naturally by your body when you become pregnant. However, it is used as a medication during fertility treatments for the purpose of triggering ovulation within your ovary.

Bromocriptine (Parlodel)

• High levels of the hormone prolactin hinder the ovulation process. This medication slows or stops the production of the prolactin so that ovulation may occur.

• Women with abnormally high levels of prolactin may include those with polycystic ovary syndrome, various hormonal imbalances, or a benign tumor in the pituitary gland.

Progesterone

• Progesterone is one of your body's naturally occurring hormones. If your progesterone level is too low, you may experience problems becoming pregnant because of irregular menses or problems with ovulation.

Or you may experience repeat miscarriages, perhaps linked to low progesterone levels. In these situations, supplemental progesterone may be recommended.

• Progesterone may also be prescribed as part of an assisted reproductive technology. The purpose would be to stabilize and maintain the uterine lining so that the egg can implant and grow.

Aspirin and Heparin

• Aspirin and heparin are sometimes prescribed to treat those diagnosed with recurrent miscarriages or known blood-clotting abnormalities.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

• OHSS is a medical condition that may occur, though rarely, when your ovaries have been overly stimulated by various fertility medications.

• Approximately 4 percent of women undergoing assisted reproductive technologies may develop OHSS.

• During OHSS your ovaries enlarge and form many fluid-filled cysts. This fluid can leak into your abdomen and chest, causing potentially serious complications and symptoms. Talk with your doctor if you believe that you are experiencing any of the following symptoms so that you can be quickly diagnosed and treated:

• Pain and bloating in your abdomen

• Difficulty urinating

• Sudden weight gain of up to 10 pounds

• Rarely, extreme pain, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath

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