The Drugs That Can Increase Fertility

Sadly, not all parents-to-be get pregnant the old-fashioned way -- sometimes, a little extra work is needed. Learn more about the best two fertility drugs that can boost your odds of conceiving: Clomiphene and human chorionic gonadotropin.

Photography by ©iStock

Photography by ©iStock

When Mother Nature isn’t cooperating, many women turn to science, known as Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Fertility treatments present some options to help you get pregnant. Here’s what’s available:

Clomiphene

Clomiphene (Clomid) is a drug used to stimulate ovulation by increasing a woman’s follicular stimulating hormone (FSH) at beginning of her cycle. You take the pills for five days (day three of your period to day seven of your cycle). Often, it’s used in combination with intrauterine insemination (IUI) at ovulation to increase chances of success.

What You Should Know:

  • Given reports of increased risk of ovarian cancer after 12 cycles of clomiphene treatment, its use is usually limited to three –four cycles.
  • The cost of clomiphene plus IUI is $200–300 per cycle; the pregnancy rate is five per cent per cycle.
  • About 10 per cent of pregnancies result in twins, rarely in triplets.

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin

Self-injections of FSH are given from day three of your period until ovulation in order to produce two-four mature eggs instead of just one.

Close monitoring is required, which means you need to make 6-10 morning visits to the fertility clinic to undergo blood tests for estradiol (estrogen) levels, as well as the occasional ultrasound to monitor follicle development. Once the follicles are ready you will inject HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to ovulate, which will be followed by having intrauterine insemination at the clinic the next day.

What You Need to Know:

  • The success rate is 10-12 per cent pregnancy per cycle.
  • The costs of the drugs are an average of $1500-2500, which private insurance may cover.
  • Usually three-four cycles of superovulation+IUI to a limit of six.
  • Multiple pregnancies are quite possible (20 per cent twins, five percent triplets and rarely more) and ovarian hyperstimulation

Success at Last

When Sara, 42, a Toronto mom of two, couldn’t get pregnant the old-fashioned way after a year of trying, she went to a fertility clinic. While tests turned up nothing wrong with her or her husband, one fertility specialist suggested IVF. She wasn’t ready for that— “I thought, why not start with something less invasive, and not so expensive?” An internal exam from a different fertility specialist located some scar tissue on her cervix. He suggested she try the fertility drug, Clomid, to start; after that didn’t work on its own, she tried Clomid with intrauterine insemination for a couple of cycles—and bingo! Within five months of starting fertility treatment, she was pregnant with her daughter, Olivia.

From health factors that can affect fertility to drugs that increase fertility, we have much more information on conception in our Ultimate Fertility Guide.

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