Eleven percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have infertility issues, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depending on your medical history and the reason for infertility, your doctor will help you to choose an approach that may include medication, assisted reproductive technology or both if the first course of action doesn't have a positive result.
While there are many different causes of infertility, when ovulation is the roadblock to conception, fertility drugs can help stimulate egg release. Depending on the specific drug, fertility medications either induce or regulate the ovulation process, according to Baystate Health Reproductive Medicine. The American Fertility Association notes that clomiphene citrate is typically the first type of infertility treatment used for women who aren't ovulating or aren't ovulating regularly. If this doesn't work after three cycles, the doctor may move the woman to an injectable treatment before going to in vitro fertilization.
Before jumping into an IVF process, your doctor may want you to try a less invasive approach. The next step after medication treatments fail is typically intrauterine insemination, according to the AFA. Instead of harvesting your eggs — like IVF requires — intrauterine insemination requires inserting sperm into the uterus.
In Vitro and Egg Induction
Only you and your doctor can make the decision to try in vitro. Your doctor will need to harvest eggs for this procedure. The American Pregnancy Association notes that fertility drugs can help to control the timing of ovulation, making it easier to collect more eggs through a process called ovulation induction. The more eggs that you have, the greater likelihood of creating viable embryos.
If you aren't already ovulating, and other fertility drugs have failed to get you started, your doctor may prescribe injections of a follicle stimulating hormone. While you're receiving the injections your doctor will want to make sure that you are indeed ovulating. You will need to have an ultrasound and blood tests that measure the hormone levels in your body, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. After confirming ovulation the doctor will harvest the eggs. Since you have already ovulated, you won't need to continue the medication after the collection is complete.