Fertility Medications

Fertility medications are a key part of treatment for many types of infertility including in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproductive technologies. Many patients are successfully treated with fertility drugs alone.

These medications stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs and prepare the body to receive an embryo:

  • Clomiphene Citrate
  • Gonadotropins
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Progesterone

Understanding Fertility Medications

Clomiphene Citrate—Clomiphene citrate (Clomid® or Serophene®) is an oral fertility medication that works by triggering the body to produce more of its own follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This oral medication is often among the first used for ovulation induction and has few side effects. Generally there is a 7-8% chance for multiple gestation, most of which are twins.

Gonadotropins—Gonadotropins are commonly used for ovulation induction during in vitro fertilization, gonadotropins are a class of injectable fertility drugs that directly stimulate the ovaries. Gonadotropins (Bravelle®, Follistim® and Gonal-F®) are made from highly purified follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and cause the ovaries to develop and mature multiple eggs at once.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin—Human chorionic gonadotropin, or hCG (Ovidrel®), is a hormone that is normally released by the body after an embryo has implanted in the uterine lining to initiate the final maturation and release of the egg(s) from the ovary. It is generally used to trigger ovulation in combination with other fertility drugs.

Progesterone—Progesterone is an ovarian hormone necessary for the support of the early embryo. Without it, the uterine lining will not adequately thicken and implantation will not take place. Women who undergo egg retrieval for in vitro fertilization are generally prescribed progesterone supplements, because some of the cells that normally produce progesterone are removed.

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