Many women these days are battling fertility issues and longing to have a baby. Doctors may prescribe them fertility medicines to increase their chances of getting pregnant. Some of the most common questions we get from women who are in need of or those who are prescribed fertility drugs are about the advantages and risks involved in using them. Continue reading to get an insight into the types of fertility medicines, their administrating methods, advantages and risks associated with them.
What Are Fertility Drugs?
Fertility drugs are basically medicines and hormones used to regulate and stimulate ovulation, which increases your chances of getting pregnant. The fertility medicines not only help to get pregnant, but also helps to stay pregnant.
What Are The Benefits Of Taking Fertility Drugs?
Some of the benefits of taking fertility drugs are listed below:
- Fertility drugs stimulate hormone production and help in re-establishing the balance between different types of hormones that effect the reproductive process
- They help in regulating ovulation cycle in women
- They stimulate the formation of healthy follicles and regulate their release
- They help to normalize blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes, which can be a cause of infertility
- Many of the medicines used to treat infertility in women contain vitamins and minerals which are very important for the normal development of the fetus. So, when fertilization takes place, these drugs help to reduce the risk of miscarriage
- They improve blood flow to reproductive organs and stimulate their function thus increasing the chance of pregnancy
- They boost libido thus considerably improving the sexual life of the couple
What Are The Risks Of Using Fertility Drugs?
Like any medical procedure, the treatment with fertility drugs also come with some risks, especially their usage during long-term treatment. The risks associated with fertility drugs vary from a mere headache and hot flashes to ectopic pregnancy and birth defects. Some of risks you should be aware of before taking the fertility drugs are:
- Multiple births: Women are about 20% more likely to experience multiple births, particularly triplets or higher, if they undergo any fertility treatment. This is considered as the main risk associated with getting pregnant through the use of fertility drugs. Multiple births have a negative impact on both mother and the babies and is tagged as ‘high-risk pregnancy’. Mothers bearing more than one child are more prone to complications like gestational diabetes, placental issues, miscarriages, preeclampsia etc. In most cases the delivery will be preterm and the preemies will experience various health issues. The risk of the death of the babies in multiple births is significantly high
- Preterm labor and premature baby: As explained above, multiple births associated with fertility treatments trigger preterm labor. The preemies are more prone to infections and jaundice. The risk of cerebral palsy is also high in such cases
- Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS): If the hormone shots that are used to promote egg production ends up with overreaction of the ovary, a potentially dangerous situation called the ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) will take place. In this case the ovary becomes swollen and generates pain. It can also result in rapid weight gain, reduced urination, nausea, shortness of breath and vomiting. Severe OHSS can also prove to be life threatening
- Ectopic pregnancy: Chances of ectopic pregnancy are found to increase among women taking the fertility drugs
What Are The Types Of Fertility Drugs And How They Are Administered?
There are mainly two categories of fertility drugs
The oral medications are easy to take, economical and have modest results. The injectable drugs, on the other hand, are more difficult to administer but results will be faster and the success rate will be higher.
What Are The Most Common Fertility Drugs Used?
Here are most commonly used fertility drugs:
- Clomid or Serophene: Clomid is a very well-known fertility drug which is used from past 40 years. It is administrated orally. It stimulates and regulates ovulation. Hot flashes, nausea, floaters, vomiting, bloating etc. are some of the side effects of this drug
- Progesterone: Progesterone therapy is administrated orally or through injection as per the situation. Progesterone therapy is prescribed if the body of the woman produces inadequate quantities of this hormone thus causing infertility. Headaches, constipation, breast tenderness and discomfort in the joints are some of the side effects
- Letrozole: Femera- letrozole is an oral drug used to induce ovulation. Lack of FDA approval and increased risk of birth defects are the major drawbacks of this drug
- GnRH agonists: Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone (GnRH) agonists which are administrated as subcutaneous injection are fertility drugs commonly used with IVF to increase the chances of pregnancy. It is used to control the production of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) that are needed for the egg production, first by increasing them and then by suppressing them
- Gonadotropin: Gonadotropin is administrated through injection. It is often used with other fertility drugs. It is used when the level of LH and FSH is very low or if the woman is undergoing IVF treatment
- Bromocriptine and cabergoline: Ovulation problem caused as a result of high prolactin level is treated with this medicines. These drugs reduce the level of prolactin by influencing the pituitary glands
- GnRH antagonists: Just like GnRH agonists, the GnRH antagonists, which are also administrated as a subcutaneous injection, will prevent the release of LH and FSH. The advantage of GnRH antagonists over GnRH agonists is that the duration of administration is shorter while producing the same effect. Headaches, vaginal bleeding, abdominal pain etc. are common side effects of this drug
Finding The Right Dose Of Fertility Drugs
Finding the right dose of the fertility drugs, which obviously varies with women (depending on the cause), is very significant in treating infertility. A low dose of medicine leads to insufficient reaction thereby decreasing the chances of the positive outcome of the treatment. A high dosage of fertility drug, on the other hand, can develop serious issues like OHSS.
So, if you’re at the point where you need the help of fertility drugs to conceive, don’t be anxious. There are highly effective drugs that are available in the market that will help you get pregnant. Millions of women have successfully become pregnant thanks to these type of fertility drugs and medications. Talk to your doctor and try out several cycles of fertility drugs that will enable you to successfully get pregnant. We hope this article gave you a good round up on female fertility drugs.