Fertility Drug Basics for Women
Many couples experience the pain and heartbreak of infertility. If you have been trying to get pregnant with no success, your doctor may recommend fertility drugs as a first step. For many, this is a frightening prospect.
There are mainly two categories of fertility drugs for women, injected and non-injected. Some of the more popular non-injected drugs include Clomiphene citrate, better known as Clomid, Synarel, a nasal spray, and Crinone, an intravaginal gel. The most popular, Clomid, is used when the reproductive system is operating, but ovulation is erratic. It works by stimulating the brain to produce the hormones needed to get eggs released from the ovaries each month. Since Clomid is fairly complication-free, it is considered relatively safe, although a small percentage of some women due develop ovarian cysts during use. The most common side effects are hot flashes, changes in menstrual flow and irritability.
Injectable fertility drugs are mainly Gonadotropins, containing two different types of hormones that work directly on the ovaries to stimulate egg release. Some of the brand names of these drugs are Pergonal, Reprones, Fertinex, Follistim, and Pregnyl. These are injected on a schedule determined by your fertility specialist. Minor side effects of these drugs can include redness, swelling and itchiness at the injection site, headaches, nausea, vomiting and breast pain.
These drugs have been in use for more than 30 years, with great success. However, use of fertility drugs can increase your chance of multiple births, which in turn can increase your risk for other pregnancy complications like premature labor and miscarriage. About 10% of women using Clomid have multiples. 10 to 40% of women using gonadotropins have multiple births.
For any couple experiencing difficulty conceiving, fertility drugs are a relatively safe beginning step in fertility treatment.