Ovulation Induction and Cycle Monitoring

Simply put, Ovulation induction is a procedure that involves the use of medications that help to stimulate the development of one or more follicles in the woman’s ovaries. In other words, women with irregular cycles can take advantage of this procedure that can assist in releasing eggs. Instead of waiting for the natural hormonal surge, drugs are administered which can considerably fasten the process.

To evaluate the endometrium or the lining of the womb, serial pelvic ultrasound scans are used and this) also determines how the follicles are developing. The entire procedure is controlled with blood tests done regularly ensuring that the woman is responding to medications. This is also used to time intercourse or to perform IUI.

There are several drug protocols that are commonly used. Clomiphene citrate or Femara) may be given in a tablet form. The induction cycles may even be followed by an hCG injection that induce ovulation. Of course, there are a few side effects involved in ovulation induction such as bloatedness, discomfort in the lower abdominal area, headaches and fatigue.

The medications used for the process may include clomiphene citrate or injectable gonadotropins (recombinant-FSH). Clomiphene or Clomid tablets increase the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) by the pituitary gland. This thereby stimulates the follicles and encourages egg growth. This tablet is normally given in a starting dose of 50 mgs (1 tablet) taken from the 2nd to the 6th day of the period. If the periods are very infrequent then it may be important to give a different type of tablet called Norethisterone. On the other hand, gonadotrophins are injected. Their active ingredient is follicle stimulating hormone and these are given on a daily basis.

The couple are then advised for timed sexual intercourse which can then take place or Intrauterine Insemination at a given time. However, there are a few side effects that are involved in ovulation induction. This involves bloatedness, lower abdominal discomfort, headaches and fatigue. By carefully monitoring the progress, the risk of multiple births can be removed. The patient may even be advised to abstain from sexual intercourse where indicated.

Monitoring can be performed in 2 ways:

  • By endocrine assay of the blood levels of estrogen, LH and progesterone.
  • By ultrasound scanning, which involves the use of the modern technique of vaginal ultrasound, that does not require the full bladder. Using ultrasound, a picture of the ovaries as well as the follicles and the endometrial lining of the uterus can be captured.

By carefully monitoring the whole treatment, it is quite likely that the woman would conceive through this procedure. However, the success of this treatment is dependent on several factors such as age, sperm count presence of endometriosis, etc. Every cycle that a couple undergoes will have a certain probability that may result in conception. Normally, a number of months are required for ovulation induction treatment. If conception does not occur, your doctor is likely to suggest other methods or treatment procedures.