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Fertility drugs are commonly prescribed for women with ovulation disorders. These drugs, often called stimulation medications, cause or regulate ovulation. Other drugs assist in the implantation of an embryo. Depending on the drug, it will be taken orally or injected.
Before taking any medication, however, you will have to complete diagnostic tests to determine what is causing your infertility problems. Once you know the cause, medication may be directed at correcting it.
Fertility Drugs that Stimulate Ovulation
This type of medication will be prescribed if you have problems getting pregnant because your periods are absent or irregular since you cannot produce or release eggs.
Luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) regulate the menstrual cycle and ovulation, the production of eggs. Ovulation drugs are used if you do not ovulate because your pituitary gland does not produce enough LH and FSH or because your ovaries do not respond to normal levels of the hormones.
Ovulation drugs work like the female hormone estrogen; they cause eggs to develop in the ovaries and be released. A number of drugs are available that temporarily correct problems with eggs and increase your chance of getting pregnant. In fact, about 40 percent to 45 percent of couples who take clomiphene citrate, the most commonly prescribed ovulation drug, become pregnant.
Fertility Drugs that Prevent Premature Ovulation
Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) signals the pituitary gland to release LH and FSH.
Some women are unable to get pregnant because they ovulate before the egg is ready. When used as a fertility medication, this hormone prevents premature ovulation by changing when the body ovulates. It also enables the body to produce a higher number of quality eggs.
Fertility Drugs that Improve Insulin Sensitivity
A majority of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are resistant to insulin. This means they produce too much insulin, which signals their ovaries to release higher-than-normal levels of androgens (male hormones) which can interfere with egg development and release.
Insulin sensitizing agents can help lower high levels of androgens and restore ovulation.
Fertility Drugs that Reduce Prolactin
Too much prolactin (the hormone that causes milk production) can prevent the release of testosterone and sperm production in men. In women, high levels of prolactin in the blood inhibit the release of FSH and LH and stop ovulation.
Medication can reduce the amount of prolactin released by the pituitary gland. These fertility drugs are often very successful, with 90 percent of cases returning to normal prolactin levels. If there is nothing else causing infertility, 85 percent of women will ovulate and can become pregnant.