Fertility Drug Therapy Options

Your doctor may prescribe a fertility drug if your body is not ovulating as it should. Some fertility drugs work best when they are taken with other fertility drugs. These drugs may help the body ovulate normally, which increases the chances of pregnancy.

What Happens During Normal Ovulation
• A healthy egg grows in an ovary. The egg starts as a follicle.
• The ovary releases the mature egg, or embryo, into a fallopian tube.

Many Hormones Play a Part in Ovulation
Many hormones work together to cause a woman’s body to ovulate. These hormones include:
• Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Helps a follicle grow into a mature egg.
• Gonadotropins (go-NAD-oh-tro-pinz). Help the body release FSH and LH.
• Luteinizing (LOU-tun-eye-zing) hormone (LH). Causes the ovary to release a mature egg.
• Prolactin (pro-LAK-tun). Lowers the levels of FSH and LH.

Embryo (EM-bree-oh): A fertilized egg.
Fallopian (fuh-LO-pee-un) Tubes: The tubes in which sperm fertilizes an egg after it is released from an ovary.
Follicle (FALL-ickle): A sac on the ovary that is filled with fluid and an undeveloped egg.
Hormones: Chemicals made by the body.
Ovaries (OH-vur-eez): The two glands on the sides of the uterus. They produce eggs and hormones.
Ovulate (aw-view-LATE): When the ovary releases a mature egg into a fallopian tube. The egg travels through this tube to the uterus.
Uterus (YOU-dur-us): Where a fertilized egg (embryo) grows during pregnancy.


If Hormone Levels Are Too High or Too Low, the Body May Not Ovulate Every Month
Common signs are:
• Not having a period every month.
• Going a long time between periods.
But you can still have regular periods and not be ovulating.

Common Fertility Drugs
These drugs are often prescribed for women with ovulation problems:
Clomiphene (KLO-muh-feen) citrate (CC). Your doctor may prescribe this drug if:
• A healthy egg does not develop in the ovary each month.?
• Or, the egg is not released into the fallopian tube each month. Gonadotropins. These drugs contain FSH, LH, or both. Your doctor may prescribe this type of drug if:
• The body does not release enough FSH and/or LH. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). Your doctor may prescribe FSH if:
• A healthy egg does not grow in the ovary each month.

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). This drug contains LH. Your doctor may prescribe hCG if:
• The ovary does not release an egg into the fallopian tube each month.
Human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG). This drug contains FSH and LH. Your doctor may prescribe hMG if:
• A healthy egg does not grow in the ovary each month.
• Or, the egg is not released into the fallopian tube each month.

Other Fertility Drugs
Other fertility drugs may be prescribed to treat specific problems. Some include:
Bromocriptine (BRO-muh-KRIP-teen) and Cabergoline (kuh-BUR-go-leen). Your doctor may prescribe one of these drugs if:
• The body releases too much prolactin.
Insulin-sensitizing drugs. Your doctor may prescribe these drugs if:
• The body does not respond to insulin the way it should. Resistance to insulin, which is a hormone, can cause problems with ovulation.

Provided as an educational resource by Merck