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Ovulation Induction

In a normal menstrual cycle, an egg grows, develops, and matures to the point of its release (called “ovulation”) in the attempt to achieve pregnancy. This process depends on a delicate balance of hormones and other factors that, if not produced in the right way, can lead to infertility.

In ovulation induction, patients are treated with hormone medications or fertility drugs to increase the chances of ovulation. These medications stimulate inactive or under-producing ovaries to produce a mature egg and release it, so it may be fertilized. Ovulation induction medications are used to help women who do not normally ovulate to produce a single, healthy egg, and women who ovulate but where the quality or number of eggs produced may not be sufficient to achieve a successful pregnancy.

In these cases, gentle ovulation induction may be used to make 2-3 eggs and is often used with Intrauterine Insertion (IUI). Where many more eggs are needed (as in IVF requiring the retrieval of multiple eggs so that following fertilization in vitro, the best embryo can be selected for transfer), more than one ovulation induction medication is generally used and at higher doses than for IUI. The process of creating more than one mature egg is called “superovulation.”

Because fertility drugs can cause mood swings and can increase the chance of multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more), they are best prescribed by Infertility Specialists that are board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the specialty of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. We closely monitor laboratory blood tests and ultrasounds to minimize potential risks. Rarely, superovulation may be associated with ovarian hyperstimulation, which is a painful condition of ovarian enlargement.

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