Fertility Drugs

Approximately 30% of female infertility is related to problems with ovulation.

Medication to trigger ovulation can be given alone, or in combination with other treatments such as artificial insemination (AI) or in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).

These treatments require proper supervision in order to assess the treatment's effectiveness, to determine the dates of ovulation, to adapt treatment, and to screen for side-effects.

Ultrasound scans must be carried out regularly in order to supervise the response of your ovaries.

Fertility Drugs

Commonly used fertility drugs are show below:
  • Clomifene citrate (Clomid) : pills that are taken for 5 days to stimulate or regulate the ovaries directly.
  • Metformin : taken 2 - 3 times daily and used in women who are obese or have polycystic ovaries to stimulate ovulation.
  • Pulsed gonadotrophin-releasing hormone : rarely used but aims to trigger egg production though pulses of hormone injected directly into the bloodstream via a small pump usually under the arm.
  • Other specialised hormones: ovulation is stimulated by injection of hormones

Side-effects of fertility drugs

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain and/or diarrhoea
  • Breast tenderness and/or enlargement
  • Multiple gestations: vary from 2 to 17%
  • Spontaneous miscarriage: the rate varies from 10 to 19% according to studies
  • Ectopic pregnancy: slightly more frequent than during a normal pregnancy
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation: potentially dangerous condition where a cluster of eggs within the ovaries grow too much and can cause abdominal pain and bloating, shortness of breath, fluid overload and very rarely death

Additional information

For further details, please visit the HFEA (The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) website at:
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