Ovulation Induction (OI)
Ovulation refers to the monthly release of a single egg by one of your ovaries. If the egg is fertilized by sperm, you would miss the upcoming menstrual period, indicating that you may have conceived successfully.
A large majority of women’s fertility issues are related to problems with the ovulation cycle. Irregular or missed ovulation disrupts a woman’s menstrual cycle and affects her fertility, leading to problems with spontaneous conception. Women who have a hormonal condition such as a thyroid disorder or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) often face ovulation failure. Other factors which can affect your ovulation cycle are weight fluctuation, emotional stress, and premature ovarian failure.
Ovulation Induction: The Process
Ovulation Induction is the process of stimulating your ovaries to release eggs. This is done with the help of oral or injectable medication. Combined with timed sexual intercourse, this simple treatment greatly increases the chances of a spontaneous pregnancy. In other words, ovulation induction is your fertility doctor’s effort to help you conceive naturally.
This may be done in one of the following ways:
- Oral medication (Clomiphene citrate) to increase the production of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), or
- FSH injections to induce your ovaries to develop more eggs
Before commencing the process of ovulation induction, your fertility specialist will advise blood tests to determine your hormone levels and a transvaginal ultrasound to assess the health of your ovaries and uterus.
Ovulation Induction and Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
In some cases, your fertility doctor may recommend IUI in conjunction with ovulation induction. IUI helps ensure that the sperm from your partner are present in the uterus at the time when you ovulate.
IUI is generally recommended when
- Fertility medication along with timed intercourse has failed in achieving pregnancy
- Cause of infertility cannot be established – unexplained infertility
- As a first line of treatment for mild male-factor infertility
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