Every month, typically 14 days after the beginning of a woman’s period, one ovary should release one egg – but of course, it doesn’t always happen like it ‘should’. In up to a third of women who haven’t conceived after a year of trying, the ovary may not be releasing an egg consistently, meaning there is nothing for the sperm to fertilise. This failure to ovulate may show itself through absent or irregular periods, and it may be down to a number of reasons – most commonly, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (P.C.O.S.).
Ovulation Induction (OI) treatment is therefore exactly what it says it is – using simple fertility drugs, we can help stimulate your ovulation. Initially, you’ll take Clomifene (Clomid) or Letrozole (Femara) tablets for five days between day 2 and 6 of your cycle – these help ovulation by stopping the effects of oestrogen on the brain, which in turn encourages it to release the body’s ‘egg (follicle) stimulating’ hormone – FSH. After the tablet course has finished, we will follow up with ultrasound ‘follicle tracking’ scans, as well as blood and urine tests as required from day 8 or 9 of your cycle. As soon as we know the ovaries are responding to the drug and producing an egg, we’ll advise either timed intercourse or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
If there is no response to either Clomifene or Letrozole, we will discuss using more powerful injectable fertility drugs called gonadotrophins, which you will inject daily for about 10 to 12 days each month (but can be longer).