For those who are having difficulty conceiving, fertility drugs may offer hope in getting you and your partner pregnant. Fertility drugs can help to trigger ovulation, suppress ovulation or  can help increase male fertility.

Drugs can help women who are having ovulation problems, or they can help women who have had recurrent miscarriages. In cases where the women is fertile but her partner is not fertile enough the women may have to take fertility drugs in order to increase the number of eggs that mature and release when she ovulates so they can be harvested for In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Types Of Fertility Drugs

Here are some common prescribed fertility drugs:

  • Clomid, Serophene – also known as clomiphene citrate, this drug is one of the first prescribed when ovulation issues are discovered.  Side effects are fairly minimal with Clomid , as opposed to other fertility drugs like gonadotropins.

  • Femera – also known as letrozole this drug is normally used to treat women with breast cancer, but has also had success in women to induce ovulation. However, there has been some discussion that femera causes an increase in birth defects, although it is only used to increase the chances of conception and has no impact on the development of the pregnancy itself.

  • Follistim, Gonal-F – these fertility drugs mimic the natural hormone FSH and are created in a lab using recombinant DNA. FSH tells the oocytes in the ovaries that it is time to mature. This hormone is taken by injection and can be part of an IVF treatment, an IUI treatment or simply to increase the chances of conceiving at home.

  • Bravelle, Fertinex – these are similar to other FSH drugs but they are naturally derived from the urine of post-menopausal women.  These drugs are less expensive than the artificial FSH, but are not as potent, and are also taken by injection.

  • Ovidrel, Novarel, Pregnyl – these drugs mimic the hormone LH, and help to trigger ovulation. The drug is made of hCG, which comes from the urine of pregnant women and acts the same as LH. The drugs are injected, and are generally used after FSH treatment as part of IVF or IUI treatment.

  • Antagon, Cetrotide – these drugs are GnRH antagonists, meaning that they counteract the effects of LH and FSH to suppress ovulation. The drug is used during a course of IVF treatment to ensure that ovulation doesn’t occur at the wrong time. These drugs can also be used if a couple is trying to conceive at home, and needs to delay their fertility window.

  • Lupron, Synarel, Zoladex – these GnRH agonists, or gonadotropin releasing hormone agonists cause a surge of FSH and LH in the body, and then abruptly stops production so that ovulation is prevented.  This allows the fertility doctor more predictability and control over ovulation during the course of fertility treatment.

  • Pergonal, Humegon, Repronex, Menopur – these drugs can be used in conjunction with LH and FSH, and are injectable.

Fertility Drug Risks

All drugs have risks and side effects. The most common risk when taking fertility drugs is the risk of multiple pregnancies.  Another side effect is called OHSS or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. This is when the fertility drugs cause the ovaries to become overstimulated, and they become too large and filled with fluid. The fluid is released with ovulation, which can lead to complications.

You can eliminate some of the fear and mystery of fertility drugs by educating yourself as much as possible – here some articles that may help:

·         Risks of Fertility Drugs

·         Getting Pregnant with Multiples

·         Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome Explained