Gonadotropins, For Him And Her
The most frequently used medication for infertility is Clomid. It's been used for years with great success and once fertility treatments have been decided upon, a woman who experiences difficulty conceiving is generally given Clomid first. If, after a few rounds of Clomid, there has been no conception, then there are a number of other fertility drugs which may be utilized to aid in conception.
What Is Used When Clomid Fails?
One such drug is gonadotropins. They are often given to both men and women who are going through fertility treatments. These drugs stimulate the ovaries of women to produce multiple mature eggs per cycle. Men, who have a hormonal imbalance which is linked to poor sperm motility or production, are also given gonadotropins to help regulate their hormones to produce more and better sperm. Gonadotropins are administered by intramuscular injection daily for 10 to 18 days. They are marketed under a variety of trade names such as Pergonal, Repronex, Puregon, Pregnyl, Novarel, Monegon and others.
How Gonadotropins Work
Since gonadotropins induce the production of several eggs at one time in the ovaries, they can help a woman to conceive. One form of gonadotropins is human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG) which is made up of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) that is injected daily over a period of seven to 12 days. The hMG will translate into a dose of FSH which, in turn, stimulates the ovaries to produce more than one egg. Once this procedure has taken place, then injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) are given to encourage the ovaries to release the eggs into the fallopian tubes where they can become fertilized.
The Treatment is Self-Administered and Monitored Closely
Gonadotropin treatment is given either by hMG or FSH shots three days into the monthly menstrual cycle. They are continued for seven to 12 days each month, depending upon the speed of maturation of the eggs. Frequent, close monitoring is maintained in order to determine if the drug is working. Additionally, trans-vaginal ultrasounds and blood tests are administered to monitor the efficacy of the drug. Once the eggs are mature, hCG is given by injection and within 24 to 36 hours ovulation will likely take place. Fertilization is attempted by IUI or by sex at home. This type of cycle may be repeated up to six times. If there is no success, then the dosage may be increased or another type of fertilization technique will be recommended.
They're Drugs, They Have Side Effects
Gonadotropins are drugs and, as with any type of drug treatment, there are side effects. Many people have a hard time injecting themselves and other frequent and common effects of using this drug include weight gain, bloating, fluid retention and abdominal tenderness. There have been improvements made which have provided purer gonadotropins such as Gonal F and Follistim. These drugs have fewer side effects and may be injected under the skin using smaller needles.
Another effect of using fertility drugs is the very real possibility of a multiple birth. It can be a mixed blessing in that there are more babies to love and at the same time the risk of miscarriage is multiplied. Fertility treatments are intense and draining. It is important to have as much support as possible during the process. The success rates are constantly climbing as new and better drugs are being developed.