Medications are an important part of fertility treatment addressing many types of infertility, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Fortunately, many patients have success with fertility drugs alone, preventing the need for other interventions. Many medications work to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and help prepare the reproductive system to receive an embryo.
Below are the most commonly prescribed fertility treatment medications.
Clomiphene citrate (Clomid® or Serophene®) works by triggering the reproductive system to produce more follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Clomiphene citrate, an oral medication, is often among the first prescribed to induce ovulation. It has few side effects.
Frequently used to induce ovulation during in vitro fertilization, gonadotropins are a class of fertility drugs that directly stimulate the ovaries. Gonadotropins, injectable drugs such as Bravelle®, Gonal-F®, and Follistim®, are made from highly purified follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that causes the ovaries to develop and mature multiple eggs simultaneously.
hCG (Ovidrel®) is a hormone that is usually released by the body after an embryo has implanted in the lining of the uterus . Its effect on the reproductive system is similar to that of luteinizing hormone (LH), which initiates the final maturation stage and the release of the egg(s) from the ovaries. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is typically used in combination with other fertility drugs to trigger ovulation.
Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG), commonly available as Repronex® or Menopur®, contains both follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Similar to the gonadotropins discussed previously, hMG is an injectable fertility medication used to induce ovulation.
Progesterone is an ovarian hormone that supports the early-stage embryo. Progesterone helps promote uterine lining thickening so implantation can occur. Progesterone supplements are typically prescribed for women undergoing egg retrieval for in vitro fertilization.