Common causes of ovulation problems may include stress, weight fluctuations, disorders of the pituitary or thyroid gland, raised prolactin levels, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Early menopause or ovarian failure after cancer treatment may also contribute to ovulation problems.
The Ovulation Induction Process
Ovulation-inducing medications taken by mouth may be used in conjunction with an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) or In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure, or on their own to help boost a woman’s natural ability to get pregnant. Oral medications are usually the first line of treatment when a doctor initially addresses a patient’s infertility concerns.
If the oral medication regimen does not produce a pregnancy, a patient may be prescribed injectable ovulation inducing drugs. While less convenient than taking a pill, injectable medications are considered more effective.
What to Expect
Natural ovulation usually produces one egg. OI medications stimulate many follicles in the ovaries so that several eggs mature at once. While taking the medication, the doctor will use blood work and ultrasound to monitor the development of the patient’s follicles (egg sacs) in order to determine the right time for an insemination or egg retrieval. Once the follicles are fully developed and the eggs are mature, your doctor will perform either an IUI procedure, where sperm is inseminated into the uterus, or an egg retrieval procedure, where egg and sperm are fertilized outside the body.
If a patient is using an OI medication to conceive naturally, monitoring can also help a couple schedule an optimal time for intercourse.
Patients attempting to get pregnant naturally can opt to do a home pregnancy test if they see a lapse in their period cycle. If OI drugs were administered in conjunction with an IUI or IVF treatment, the doctor will order a blood test about two weeks after an IUI procedure or nine days after an IVF procedure, then call the patient with the results.