Medicine or hormone treatments are
often the first steps in
fertility treatment. They are also used for in vitro
fertilization and other
assisted reproductive technologies.
If you have irregular or
no ovulation, using medicine or hormones to stimulate ovulation will increase
your chances of pregnancy. But these treatments increase your risk of multiple
pregnancy. And that poses health risks to both you and your fetuses. When
thinking about a fertility treatment:
- Ask your doctor about your risk for having
a multiple pregnancy. Find out how to lower the chance of conceiving more than one
- Think about how a
high-risk multiple pregnancy, and the possibility of
having multiple disabled children, might affect your life.
- Multiple Pregnancy: Should I Consider a Multifetal Pregnancy Reduction?
Other rare complications—such as
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome—can be caused by
hormone shots used to stimulate ovulation. These shots may be used in assisted reproductive
technology such as IVF.
In very rare
cases, male fertility problems are caused by hormonal imbalances. Men are then
treated with medicine or hormones that help the hypothalamus and
pituitary gland start normal sperm production.
Ask your doctor questions about medicines you are considering. For example, are there
long-term effects? How long will the treatment last? How often you must be tested
while taking the medicine? Are there any side effects that will affect your
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It
increases the body's production of hormones needed for sperm
- Bromocriptine and cabergoline lower prolactin levels. High levels of prolactin can prevent the release of testosterone and production of sperm.
- Clomiphene (such as Clomid) stimulates
the release of hormones that trigger ovulation.
- Gonadotropins. These hormone shots stimulate the ovaries to
produce mature eggs.
- Medicines for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). If you're not
ovulating because of PCOS, your doctor might
suggest that you take a drug such as
metformin along with clomiphene. Learn more about
treatment of women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). It increases the body's production of hormones needed for egg production.
- Bromocriptine and cabergoline lower prolactin levels. High levels of prolactin can prevent ovulation.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogue. This is used for in vitro fertilization.
- Aromatase inhibitors are sometimes used to stimulate ovulation.