For many couples who struggle with fertility problems, medication is an effective treatment to promote ovulation. Clomiphene citrate, a synthetic oral medication, is often the first choice for treating infertility. This anti-estrogen drug causes a release of hormones that stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. However, clomiphene citrate is not effective for all women. If clomiphene citrate is not successful, one of the following injectable hormones may be recommended by your infertility doctor to stimulate ovulation.
1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a type of hormone designed to support the development of an egg in an ovary. HCG is also responsible for stimulating the release of the egg during ovulation. When used as an injection, HCG can cause ovulation in women and increase sperm count in men. HCG injections are ideal for women who suffer from ovulatory disorders, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, anovulation or irregular periods.
2. Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRH)
Gonadotropin releasing hormone is produced in the brain by the hypothalamus. This hormone is designed to stimulate the pituitary gland and helps to replace the natural GnRH in women with depleted levels to help trigger ovulation. Gonadotropics are often prescribed for anovulatory women who have had no success with clomiphene citrate, as well as women with inadequate pituitary glands. When GNRH injections are used, there is a slight chance of multiple births.
3. Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Antagonist (GnRH) Antagonist
Gonadotropin releasing hormone antagonists are a type of hormone injection administered for several days in a row. These injections cause the hormone (GnRH) to release to help prevent premature ovulation. GnRH antagonists are generally administered in the middle of the cycle to prevent a pre-ovulatory rise in blood LH levels that could cause the treatment to fail. When GnRH antagonists are paired with ovulation-stimulating treatments, the risk of conceiving multiple pregnancies increases.
4. Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone Agonist (GnRH-a)
GnRH antagonist hormones are generally injected daily to overstimulate the pituitary gland and trigger a production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). When FSH and LH are produced in abundance, it causes the pituitary gland to temporarily shut down, which in turn stops ovulation. This hormone injection stops the mid-cycle hormonal surge that some women experience that can result in a cancelled cycle.
5. Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG)
Human menopausal gonadotropins are a mixture of FSH and LH. Some fertility doctors recommend hMG if you have luteal phase defects, polycystic ovarian syndrome, or unexplained fertility problems. This hormone can also help men who have hormonal imbalances. hMG injections are typically administered several days into your menstrual cycle and taken for one to two weeks each month.
If you are struggling with infertility and traditional treatments remain unsuccessful, talk to your fertility doctor about alternative treatment options like injectable hormones. For more information about these hormones and their effects, consult with a professional.