Treating Female Infertility
Many fertility drugs to treat female infertility can increase the potential of having twins, triplets, or other multiples. Women should be aware that pregnancies with multiple fetuses can have more problems during pregnancy. Additionally, multiple fetuses have a high risk of premature birth and are at an increased risk of problems associated with overall health and development.
Some of the more common oral and injectable medications used by gynecologists to treat female infertility include:
- Clomiphene citrate (Clomid). This oral medication affects the pituitary gland causing ovulation. It is frequently used in women who have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) or other ovulation problems.
- Human menopausal gonadotropin or hMG (Repronex, Pergonal). This injectable medication is used with women who have pituitary conditions that preclude them from ovulating. It acts directly on the ovaries to stimulate ovulation.
- Follicle-stimulating hormone or FSH (Gonal-F, Follistim). Usually given by injection, FSH works much like hMG in that it causes the ovaries to begin the ovulation process.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) analog. Delivered via injection or nasal spray, these medications are used on women who don’t ovulate regularly. They are also helpful for women who ovulate before an egg is ready. They act on the pituitary gland and change when the body begins to ovulate.
- Metformin (Glucophage). Usually given orally, this medication is used with women who have insulin resistance or PCOS. It helps to reduce high levels of male hormones in women to help helping the ovulation process.
- Bromocriptine (Parlodel). This medication is used for women with ovulation problems due to high levels of prolactin that can cause menstrual disturbances. Given orally or as an injectable it lowers prolactin levels to allow the ovaries to function normally.