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Fertility Drugs

on Feb 01, 2012

by Regina Ledoux, RN, CNM

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Fertility Drugs

Before you head toward IVF or IUI, see what fertility drugs are available to you out there and hear one woman's personal experience with them.

Many people often associate infertility treatment with IVF (in Vitro fertilization) or IUI (In uterine Insemination). But, these two examples are actually considered heavier artillery when it comes to fighting infertility. Not only are they invasive, but they are also expensive. Unfortunately, most insurance companies do not cover such treatment because it is considered almost not needed, and carries the same connotation as cosmetic surgeries. Claim Your 20 Free Pregnancy Tests – Click Here

Expensive procedures? Or expensive drugs

But which is the lesser of two evils? Expensive procedures? Or expensive drugs? Often the drugs, though still pricey (again depending on insurance policies) are “cheaper”, I use this term loosely, and therefore, the better alternative. Often doctors, will turn to drugs first, and then later, if needed, combine the drugs with the procedures mentioned above.

Clomid or (Clomiphene)

For example, in my personal experience, my doctor first had me try three months of the drug Clomid or (Clomiphene); however my husband and I often referred to it as “Clo-mood”. It aids in ovulation. Actually, there is a slight risk for multiples with the drug because it can cause the woman to ovulate more than one egg, therefore creating a chance of more than one baby. The risk is slight and depends on the dosage of the drug. I started on 50 mg, then I was upped to 100, and then 150 mg over a 3 month span (the dose was increased each month I failed to conceive). The emotional side effects of the drug made a bout of PMS look like a chocolate cakewalk in comparison. I recall myself being a weepy mess, which was compounded with the emotional roller coaster that trying to conceive already entails. I would go from raging at the pregnancy test commercials on tv, to huddled in my sweat pants on the couch watching Pride and Prejudice for the 500th time. However, I must give credit where credit is due. Clomid worked in that it did make me ovulate. In fact, when I ovulated, I would know, simply because it would give me cramps.

Gonadotropins

Another class of drugs (my experience with these are much more limited) is a class of drugs called Gonadotropins – which include drugs such as Pregnyl, Novarel, Profasi, and Ovidrel to name a few examples. After my 3 months of Clomid, I tried 2 rounds of IUI (in-uterine insemination). At this point, my husband and I had learned that our problem was “male-factor”, which in my opinion is just a polite euphemism for saying that it is the man’s fault. This time I was taking Clomid to produce multiple eggs, and then I was given a shot of Ovidrel, once the eggs were determined to be mature. This made me ovulate 24-36 hours after the shot and made it possible for the insemination procedure to be performed during ovulation. So for us, even though I ovulated fine on my own, the drugs were used merely to control the time-table in which everything happened. I don’t recall weird side effects from the shot. Other than it was an 80 dollar shot with insurance and that it had to be purchased at a specialty pharmacy – not like we could stroll into our local Rite Aid and get it. Oh and, I had to hide it in our fridge. And to be honest, I was not thrilled with shooting myself up with expensive drugs on the remote chance that it might get me pregnant. I was “lucky” enough to only have to use the shot to time ovulation for the IUI procedure. However, some women, who don’t respond to Clomid, are put on Gonadotropins for longer use to induce ovulation if Clomid fails.

Fertility drugs cost

Both Clomid and Gonadotropins can be used alone or in conjunction with a procedure like IUI or IVF. I’m not one with numbers and I never have been, so I won’t attempt to do the math, but for us (this will vary according to insurance) one month of Clomid (with our insurance) was roughly twenty dollars at a local pharmacy. That was do- able. But one single dose of the Ovidrel was eighty dollars at a specialty pharmacy (and I can’t recall if our insurance picked any of that up or not). I cannot imagine the literal cost of a week’s worth of it nor can I imagine the emotional cost.

IUI & IVF cost

Fertility drugs are often used in the beginning like a metaphorical BB-gun. An IUI procedure is like loading the gun with real bullets and IVF procedure is like shooting a ten thousand dollar cannon. I say that because, that’s a rough estimate of the minimum cost of a single round of IVF.

Fertility drugs alone will really only work if the problem is solely lack of ovulation. Completely useless, in my experience, if the problem is low sperm count and low sperm motility. And even worse, is that some couples use the drugs when the problem is “unexplained”. Meaning that the man’s sperm is fine and the woman ovulates. So look into your fertility drug options with caution, before heading down this road.

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Ms. Ledoux began her career as an ObGyn nurse practitioner prior to becoming a practicing midwife in the Santa Cruz community. Working together with ObGyn physicians in her own practice, she has over 20 years experience in women's health, pregnancy and childbirth.

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  • bree

    I’ve had 4 children and my youngest is 1yr old. I just recently got married and my husband and I want a son of our own. He said he was nervous when he did the sperm count thing and they said he only has 3% sperm actually swimming…and I’ve been on these fat burner pills at work. We want to concieve but I need to know what I should do first….instead of me just going to the store and buying fertility pills and then taking them…ill take whatever I need…and he’s willing to as well. What’s the first step and then when do I start the fertility aids.

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  • Marie alva

    Hi um marie im 20. I been tryn to get pregnant for about 6months. I notice thatnow that im tryn my period is delaying more n more i use to be regular and i cramp alot but my period dnt come. Can it be something serious or stress? Also what fertility drugs for women can i take 2 speed things up?

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  • Carrie

    I know Fertibella can work and it is safe. A friend of mine took it and had no side effects. And now she is five months pregnant.

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  • Cherie

    I have been trying to get pregnant for the last five months. I was diagnosed with PCOS and I am taking Clomid. I used to not get regular periods and niw that I have been taking Clomid I am getting regular monthly periods bit I have had no luck getting pregnant. What more can I do to oncrese my chances of conceiving?

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  • jessicaw

    does this fertility drug cause multiple births

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  • SHANDRIA CRAWFORD

    I HAVE TWO KIDS I GOT MY TUBES TIED CAUSE I HAD THEM YOUNG….I RECENTLY GOT MARRIED AND HE HAS NO KIDS…MY TUBES CAME UNTIED LAST YEAR AND WE ARE STILL UNABLE TO CONCEIVE…WOULD THIS BE A GOOD FERTILITY PILL FOR MY CASE

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  • Monica Scott, BS, RN

    Here’s a quick checklist to help get pregnant fast:

    1. Get a preconception checkup to rule-out underlying issues.
    2. Begin taking prenatal vitamins prescribed by your doctor.
    3. Track your ovulation by using ovulation tests or charting your BBT. Count the first day of your period as Cycle Day 1 and begin testing on Cycle Day 9 until you get a positive result.
    4. Try missionary style sex.
    5. Lie in bed for 10-15 minutes after intercourse with your hips slightly elevated.
    6. For top quality sperm, have sex every other night around ovulation. Sperm can live up to 72 hours after intercourse. Have your partner wear loose underwear & stay out of Jacuzzis.
    7. Focus on reducing stress: drink a glass of wine or take a yoga class.
    8. Some exercise is good, but 45 minutes of vigorous workouts, 7 days a week, could actually reduce your likelihood of ovulating.
    9. Stop smoking.

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  • EBONIWILLIS

    BEST MONEY I EVER SPENT! I RECEIVED MY PILLS IN JAN AND GOT PREGNANT FEB. I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO 5 YEARS AFTER THE LOST OF MY FIRST SON. I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING BUT ONCE I HAVE GOTTEN THIS PRODUCT IT ACTUALLY WORKED. I RECOMMENDED TO MY FRIENDS NOW THEY ARE IN THE MAKING FOR A BABY. LETS SEE WHAT HAPPENED! BUT I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL BABY BOY BORN OCT THANKS TO FERTIBELLA. NOW IM IN THE MAKING FOR ANOTHER BABY! YES ANOTHER BABY!!!!!!

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    • victoriab

      Im also trying to have a baby and have been feeling pretty discouraged because I was diagnosed with PCOS. I was told by my OBGYN its pretty much impossible to conceive on my own if you have PCOS but this gives me hope. Where you on month 1 or 2 when you got pregant?

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    • EBONIWILLIS

      Sorry about them all caps. lol. I was on my 2 month pink bottle with about 5-6 pills left. Just don’t give up and i’m sure you will be pregant in no time. My sister has pcos and i told her to try it to so well see what happens.

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  • Maureen Stephens, RN

    I wouldn’t be overly concerned at this point, since 3 months is still too early to tell if you’re experiencing any fertility issues. However, if you continue without success, there are a few things to consider.

    First and foremost, is timing your ovulation. I recommend charting your basal body temperature to determine your ideal time for conception. If necessary, be sure to get your body weight nearer to your ideal weight by switching to a diet that is low in fat and carbohydrates. If you need help stimulating ovulation, you may want to try a fertility aid like FertiBella or discuss stimulating your ovaries via HCG shots with your ObGyn.

    You should keep in mind that women with PCOS do have an increased risk of miscarriage, hypertension, gestational diabetes and premature delivery, so you’ll want to work closely with your doctor to limit your risk factors.

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