Infertility and Ovulation Induction
Infertility is a condition that affects up to 10% of American couples. It is defined as the inability to conceive after 6-12 months of trying without using any form of contraceptives. This is a very frustrating and depressing condition, especially for couples who have been trying to conceive for such a long time. Studies show that the chances of conceiving significantly decline with age. For this reason, infertility is getting more common today. Many more couples nowadays decide to delay having children. A Houston Gynecologist will guide you through the many options available to women suffering from infertility including ovulation induction.
There are many causes why a couple is unable to conceive. Because of this, both you and your partner have to get yourselves evaluated by a Houston Gynecologist before deciding on any type of treatment. The cause of infertility may lie with the woman or the man, or even with both of them. Your OBGYN doctors in Houston can determine the source of infertility. Sexually transmitted diseases can cause infertility from the chronic inflammation that occurs during the infection. However, there are also instances where doctors are unable to pinpoint an exact cause. The most common reasons for infertility include problems with ovulation, blocked fallopian tubes, and poor sperm quality.
After getting thoroughly evaluated by your physician, you may be referred to OB GYN doctors in Houston, TX specializing in treating infertility. You can choose to undergo one or a combination of these treatment options: medications for ovulation induction, surgery, or assisted reproductive technologies (ART). Different treatment methods have different success rates, so you might want to discuss these various options with your doctor. You should keep in mind, however, that there are different ways of calculating success rates. Some define “success” as achieving pregnancy while others define it as a “live birth”.
If the cause of your infertility is lifestyle-related, you can simply undertake certain lifestyle modifications. If you are overweight or obese, you may be advised to lose weight. If you are underweight, your doctor might recommend you to gain some pounds. Both being over and under your ideal weight might cause problems with your hormones, and therefore, your fertility. If you are a smoker, you may also be counseled to quit smoking. If you are under a huge amount of stress, your doctor may advise you to take some time off to relax for a while.
Generally, the choice of treatment depends on the cause of your infertility. If problems with ovulation are the culprit, you may be required to undergo medication for ovulation induction therapy with clomiphene citrate. Ovulation problems range from not being able to release eggs, or releasing eggs that are immature. Clomiphene citrate helps with ovulation. This medication can be used for several cycles, and if it’s still ineffective in causing pregnancy, its dosage may be increased by your doctor.
Another drug commonly used by OB GYN doctors in Houston, TX to treat ovulation problems are gonadotropins. These are hormones that stimulate the eggs to mature and develop. Gonadotropins are more potent than clomiphene citrate in causing ovulation to occur. Along the course of therapy, your doctor may choose to conduct a blood tests and ultrasonographic examinations to track the progress of the eggs. If the doctor finds out that too many are maturing, she may advise you to stop that cycle of medications.
If there are no other coexisting medical problems, these medications that cause ovulation induction are pretty effective in allowing conception to occur. Research shows that more than half of the women undergoing medication therapy are successful in getting pregnant within 6 treatment cycles. If this is still ineffective in bringing about pregnancy, your doctor may conduct further testing to determine if there are any other conditions causing your infertility.
As with any other drug or medication, clomiphene citrate and gonadotropins may cause side effects. One of the more common side effects is multiple pregnancies. The chances of conceiving twins, triplets, or even quadruplets are significantly higher when taking these medications. Gonadotropins, however, pose a higher risk of conceiving multiples than clomiphene citrate. If this happens and you prefer to have fewer or just one fetus growing inside you, you have several options available. You can talk to your OBGYN doctors in Houston about your choices. One option is to have fetal reduction. This is a procedure wherein one or more fetuses are terminated. As harsh as this may seem, it actually gives the other fetuses a better chance of survival, because then they won’t be competing for space and nutrients.
Aside from medication treatment, you can also opt to have surgery or to undergo assisted reproductive technologies. If all else fails, you and your partner may consider adoption. There are several support groups that may help you and your partner get through this difficult time. The important thing is that both of you are together in whatever decision you choose.