Overview of fertility treatments
Once your evaluation is completed, you will meet with Dr. Hosseinzadeh in order to review your results and the different fertility treatments available to you. Her philosophy is that patients make better decisions when they are armed with the right information. At this very important visit, she will explain all treatment options to you in great detail, along with their side effects, risks and success rates so that you can decide which option is best for you and your family.
For most patients, treatment consists of taking fertility medications (ovulation induction) in conjunction with intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Ovulation induction/controlled ovarian stimulation is one of the fertility treatments
In a normal menstrual cycle, there are many hormones at play to grow and mature a single egg so that it is released at the time of ovulation. The slightest hormonal imbalance can disrupt this very delicate process and lead to infertility.
Ovulation induction medications, often referred to as fertility drugs, are used to stimulate the development and growth of eggs. The type of fertility drug used will depend on your diagnosis and the goal of your fertility treatments. In general, women are divided into two groups, depending on whether they are ovulating or not.
Women with conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have infrequent or absent ovulation and periods. The goal of fertility treatments in this class of patients is to make them produce one egg in order to conceive. For these patients, fertility pills are usually all that is needed.
If a patient is already ovulating and has regular monthly periods, the goal of ovulation induction is to produce two to three eggs in order to increase the chance of conception. This process is called “superovulation” or “controlled ovarian hyperstimulation.” Patients undergoing superovulation must be closely monitored by blood tests and ultrasounds. Monitoring ensures that the patient does not hyperstimulate and also helps the physician administer the correct dosage of medication so that only a few follicles develop. This is a critical step to keep the multiple pregnancy rates low. At the end of the superovulation treatment process, HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is usually prescribed to stimulate ovulation. These medications control the time that you release the eggs, or ovulate, so sexual intercourse, intrauterine insemination and in vitro fertilization procedures can be scheduled at the most likely time to achieve pregnancy.
There are risks associated with the use of ovulation induction medications including an increase in the chance of high order multiple births and the development of ovarian cysts. A rare side effect that can occur is ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS). Symptoms can include severe pain in the pelvis, abdomen and chest, nausea, vomiting, bloating, weight gain and difficulty breathing. For this reason, it is best that these medications are prescribed by fertility specialists who are board certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.