Ovulation Induction (OI)

Ovulation Induction is often one of the first line therapies used to assist women who are having difficulty getting pregnant. Medications such as Femara (Letrozole) or Tamoxifen help women to ovulate more regularly, thereby improving the chance of getting pregnant. OI is a low cost and low-tech option that has minimal side effects.

When is it used?
OI is prescribed for women who do not ovulate or have irregular menstrual periods. It can also be used in women who ovulate regularly as a method of increasing the number of eggs produced. Most women who have regular periods have approximately a 15% to 20% chance of conceiving in any one month. OI does not work for some women, especially if there are other factors contributing to their infertility.

What to Expect:
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Typically, medication is taken orally for 5 days. Ovulation is then monitored. Using an in-home urine ovulation predictor kit is sometimes used to confirm ovulation. This kit detects the rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) which occurs approximately 36 hours before ovulation. Unprotected intercourse is recommended between days 10 and 16 of the cycle. Studies have shown that the greater the frequency of intercourse the greater is the likelihood of achieving pregnancy.

Hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms can occur the first few days of taking the medication, as well as mood swings and breast tenderness. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a rare but dangerous complication of treatment. There is also a risk of Multiple Pregnancy when having OI.

Success Rates:
80% of women who undergo OI treatment will ovulate, but less that half of these women will conceive. The following study published by Fertility and Sterility in 1998, compared the expected pregnancy rates achieved each month dependent upon the treatment used.