Ovulation Induction Treatment
What is Ovulation Induction Treatment?
Ovulation Induction (OI) is a simple fertility treatment designed to improve the opportunity for pregnancy by increasing the number of eggs produced during a cycle. This is achieved by using medications that cause ovulation to occur, and / or regulate ovulation.
How can Ovulation Induction Treatment help us?
Ovulation Induction is often the first treatment option for female fertility issues, as it significantly increases the chance of conception through intercourse or artificial insemination (AI).
It’s often a good first choice if ovulation is an issue – either low hormone levels impairing ovulation, or a total lack of ovulation – and it involves a course of medication (either tablets or injections) to stimulate your ovaries.
The potential improvement in fertility using this type of treatment depends on many factors, including the woman’s age, diagnosis and the initial male semen analysis. These issues will be discussed prior to any treatment taking place. Please be prepared to ask as many questions as you need to feel comfortable with your diagnosis, and the recommended course of treatment.
Who is Ovulation Induction Treatment recommended for?
Ovulation Induction treatment is recommended for:
- women with unexplained infertility,
- women with long, irregular or infrequent cycles,
- women who are not spontaneously ovulating (i.e., it appears as if ovulation does not occur at all), and
- couples with no male factor infertility.
Ovulation Induction treatment is not recommended for:
- women over 38 years of age,
- women with tubal blockage or severe tubal damage,
- women with severe endometriosis, or
- males with a low sperm count or poor sperm motility/morphology.
An overview of Ovulation Induction Treatment – what will happen?
Prior to treatment, your ovulation cycle must be determined. This is done by taking measurements of your hormone levels in a series of blood tests. In most cases, a transvaginal ultrasound will check the development of follicles in the ovaries, as well as the preparation of the lining of the uterus (i.e., for fertilisation and implantation).
There are a number of medications used to stimulate ovulation. Dr Das will choose the drug or combination of drugs that are best in each individual case. It is important to understand that each patient / couple we see is treated as an individual case and we will provide advice based on your individual circumstances.
Some medications are taken orally as a tablet. Generally, these drugs promote growth of the follicles that contain the developing eggs in the ovaries. If these medications do not stimulate you to ovulate, or you do not become pregnant even with ovulation, there are other medications that may be prescribed either alone or in combination.
Other medications are given as an injection under the skin. These supplement the naturally-occurring hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). When these medications are successful, the ovaries produce multiple follicles and high-quality, mature eggs.
Throughout the ovulation stimulation, your hormone levels and the development of follicles are tracked, so that your medication type and dose may be individually adjusted for optimum results. In addition, blood tests and ultrasound are used to track the effects of the medications on your body.
When the follicles mature over 17mm in diameter, you will be given an injection of a hormone called hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin), in preparation for either intercourse or Artificial Insemination (AI).
What are the Potential Risks of Ovulation Induction Treatment?
The most significant risk is that of overstimulation. A small percentage of women may experience an excessive response to the fertility drugs, causing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Symptoms include severe discomfort, nausea, vomiting, abdominal swelling and dehydration.
It is important that you notify the clinic immediately if any of these symptoms occur during your treatment, as hospitalisation may be required in order to treat you safely.
Multiple pregnancies can also occur and close monitoring is essential during Ovulation Induction Treatment.