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Infertility: Medications Women Can Consider and Its Side Effects

After a couple who has been trying to conceive a baby for a year without success, it is understandable they become discouraged. That is when it is time to see the doctor in order to get a referral to a fertility specialist.

At the same time, the man will see his physician in order for his sperm count and quality to be evaluated. If there is nothing wrong with the sperm, then, unfortunately, the issue is likely with the woman’s fertility. If this happens to be you, then don’t become discouraged because there are plenty of treatments that will not only help stimulate ovulation but help maintain a pregnancy after it has been achieved.

The first thing that will happen is to have a thorough examination through blood work and ultrasounds to determine the issue. In some cases, nothing physical is found. Fallopian tubes are found to be clear, and there is nothing wrong structurally. Even hormonal levels may appear to be normal.

Many women who have fertility issues that fall into this category have a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. PCOS is caused by high testosterone levels, which can cause weight gain, thinning hair, even air growth on other parts of the body and irregular cycles. That being said, many women who have PCOS may not be ovulating on a regular basis and due to that, need help.

Pregnant Woman

Fortunately, there are medications that will help women who have PCOS and other fertility issues become fertile. Listed below are the common medications to treat infertility:


Clomid is Clomiphene Citrate, and that is the most commonly prescribed infertility tablet. Sometimes Clomid is known as Serophene. If you have heard both names, it refers to  Clomiphene Citrate. In fact, Clomid is the first fertility drug that is prescribed before any other medication is used to establish normal egg production and regular ovulation.  

This drug is taken on either day 3-7 or days 5-9 of the menstrual cycle. There are different dosages of Clomid, ranging from 50 mg to 200 mg, and any woman starting Clomid must start with 50 mg. If Clomid is meant to work, then the right dosage will help with ovulation. No more than two eggs are released with this treatment.

Clomid like most other drugs has side effects, but fortunately, they are usually mild. Side effects can include hot flashes, nausea, irritability, headaches, blurred vision and breast tenderness.

If Clomid is the right drug, then pregnancy is usually achieved within 3 months of taking the right dosage. However, if pregnancy is not achieved within 6 months of taking Clomid, then it needs to be discontinued. That means stronger infertility medication needs to be attempted.


Femara which is also known as Letrozole is known to treat several types of breast cancer, however, it is also a fertility drug that is used if Clomid doesn’t work. Femara does treat women with ovulation problems. The way it helps with ovulation is that it stimulates certain hormones to help with egg production.

Because this drug is stronger than Clomid, it has been known to help several eggs mature at once. Therefore, several eggs will be released during ovulation which can also increase the chance of having twins if successful.

Injectable Gonadotropins

Injectable fertility drugs contain the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) that causes one or more follicles to develop and mature. These injectables are called gonadotropins and are given by intramuscular or subcutaneous injections on a daily basis.

The treatment is started early in the cycle, and are continued for a week to two weeks when follicles are maturing which is found on the ultrasound. When that happens, an injection of HCG is given which can cause ovulation to happen a day and a half later.

This form of treatment is incredibly strong and can cause several eggs to mature at once, which again increases the odds of achieving multiple pregnancies.


Bromocriptine can treat fertility problems that are caused by high prolactin levels that prevent ovulation from happening. This kind of ovulation disorder is quite rare but it happens, and this particular treatment, fortunately, does help. In fact, women with this condition also have amenorrhea which is the absence of periods.

Even though fertility medication is needed in order to help achieve a pregnancy, women who are about to start need to know the disadvantages and risks as well. Listed below are disadvantages that come with fertility medication.

The Risk of  Ovarian Hyperstimulation

The term is quite self-explanatory. When you are taking most of these drugs, there is a high risk that ovaries will become overly stimulated. This means too many follicles could be being produced but this can cause ovary enlargement at the least, and become life-threatening if not treated.  Ovarian hyperstimulation is rare with Clomid because that is the weakest fertility drug. However, with the other drugs mentioned, the risk is much higher. Women going through treatment on intense fertility drugs will be closely monitored so that ovarian hyperstimulation doesn’t happen or is nipped in the bud right away.

Unpleasant Side Effects

The side effects of Clomid are annoying but are usually mild and not that concerning. However, the side effects that come with the other fertility drugs are the same, yet can be a lot worse. Dealing with those kinds of side effects can take a lot out of you and make the experience of undergoing fertility treatments even more difficult.

The Risk of Multiple Births

The reason that you are on drugs to help with fertility is to achieve a pregnancy, but when it comes to becoming pregnant with more than twins, the risks become very high. It is rare for multiple pregnancies to happen with Clomid, however becoming pregnant with triplets or more happens more with the other treatments mentioned.

When multiple pregnancies happen, there is a risk of premature births due to pregnancy complications.  The last thing you would want to happen is for your precious babies to be at risk due to the fact that they have to be born early due to a complication that arose during your pregnancy.

The option of having a selective reduction is there, which involves the removal of some embryos. However, that is an emotionally devastating ordeal to go through.

Emotionally Draining

When you are undergoing fertility treatments, you will be dealing with many negative emotions. You will be constantly wondering if achieving a successful pregnancy will happen, which will cause further stress. If you see other young mothers around, that can be painful for you to watch as well.

Financially Draining

Clomid is relatively inexpensive, however, the other fertility treatments are extremely costly. Many insurance plans may cover some of the costs, but not enough. That being said, when you are on fertility drugs, it is hard on your wallet.

Increased Risk of Cancer

Fertility medications can be linked to risk factors in the development of other reproductive system diseases. The most common types of cancers that can happen as a result of using fertility drugs are breast and ovarian cancer.

However, when you really want a baby and you will do anything to achieve a pregnancy, you will have to deal with the negative issues that come with going on fertility treatments. You will also be increasing your risk of developing cancer and other complications. However, what all women who are going through fertility treatments need to focus on is ending up with that precious bundle of joy in the end.

Disclaimer: This article is a guest post from The opinion and facts expressed in the article do not represent the writers’ and the blog. This blog disclaimer is subject to change at any time without notifications.

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