What is Ovarian Stimulation treatment?
Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) is used to stimulate the growth and development of ovarian follicles to produce multiple eggs and increase the chances of getting pregnant. It may be used alone or in conjunction with other infertility treatments, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF treatment).
To stimulate the ovaries, the woman takes fertility medications, which may be in pill form, injectable, or a combination of both.
Examples of fertility medications are:
- Clomiphene citrate (U.S. branded Clomid, Serophene). This medication blocks estrogen receptors and stimulates the production of fertility-injections. Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). FSH and LH are needed to induce ovulation.
- Gonadotropins (U.S. branded Bravelle, Follistim, Gonal-f) can cause the development of one or multiple follicles.
- Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG) (U.S. branded Menopur, Repronex) directly stimulates the ovaries to induce ovulation.
- Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) (U.S. branded Novarel, Pregnyl, Profasi) helps with the final maturation of the eggs and triggers ovulation. HCG medications also stimulate the corpus luteum to secrete progesterone and prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation of a fertilized egg – embryo.
Generally, a baseline blood and ultrasound are performed early in the menstrual cycle and a regiment of fertility medication begins shortly thereafter. The physician monitors your response to the medication through blood tests and ultrasounds. When your doctor determines that your egg follicles have reached an optimum maturation stage, you will be administered an HCG injection to trigger ovulation. Then, sex or artificial insemination (IUI) is timed for about 36 hours after the trigger shot.
It is preferable to have two IUIs (artificial inseminations) done at 12 and 36 hours after the HCG injection.