Fertility Drug

Definition - What does Fertility Drug mean?

A fertility drug is medication taken to enhance a person’s odds of contributing to a pregnancy. Fertility drugs may be taken by men or women, and are prescribed specifically to address or circumvent a diagnosed condition preventing conception from occurring through sexual intercourse. Fertility drugs may be taken on their own or in conjunction with an assisted reproductive technology treatment such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). When taken in conjunction with IVF, the course of medication prescribed is referred to as an IVF protocol.

FertilitySmarts explains Fertility Drug

There are two primary categories of fertility drugs:

Ovulation induction (OI). Ovulation induction medications stimulate the follicles in the ovary to produce an egg. This medication is used if ovulation does not naturally occur. Common medication brands include:

  • Clomid
  • Serophene

Injectable hormones or gonadotropins. These medications are used to adjust defunct hormone levels that may be disrupting various stages of conception. It is generally prescribed if a woman’s body did not respond to the OI drugs. It can also be used to stimulate the maturation of multiple eggs for use in an assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatment such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Gonadotropins are also prescribed for men to treat hormonal imbalances that may be causing low sperm count, sperm motility (ability to move), or sperm morphology (shape and size).

Common medications include:

Synthetic Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) to trigger ovulation. Brand names include:

  • Pregnyl
  • Ovidrel
  • Novarel
  • Profasi

Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) stimulates the growth of follicles (immature eggs) in the ovaries. Brand names include:

  • Bravelle
  • Follistim
  • Gonal-F

Human Menopausal Gonadotropins (hMG) stimulates the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Brand names include:

  • Repronex
  • Menopur

Most fertility drugs carry a risk of side effects. The most common issues include:

  • Multiple gestation, becoming pregnant with two or more babies
  • Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Pain at injection site
  • Bloating or weight gain
  • Mood swings
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