For couples who are having trouble conceiving, where there is no identified cause of infertility, or where the woman is having problems with ovulation, the first step in treatment is a course of drugs to help stimulate and regulate ovulation.
Clomiphene citrate for infertility
Clomiphene citrate (brand names are Clomid and Serophene) is a synthetic drug taken in tablet form, usually once a day between Days 2 and 6 of the woman’s cycle, with the aim of stimulating her ovaries into ovulation. The lowest dose given is 50mg. Your doctor may increase this (occasionally up to 200mg) if lower doses don’t work within a couple of months. It is recommended that most women do not stay on the treatment for longer than six months. If it hasn’t worked by then, the chances are low that it will, and there are health risks implicated in longer treatment.
For many women, a course of clomiphene seems like a miracle cure as it ‘kick-starts’ the ovaries into regular ovulation and intercourse at the most fertile time of the cycle is more likely to result in a pregnancy. However, the treatment does not work for all women and there are some side effects:
- Some women find the drug makes them irritable or restless and gives them headaches, breast tenderness, mild abdominal discomfort or hot flushes
- A few get more severe side effects such as nausea and vomiting or vision difficulties, in which case they will need to stop the treatment immediately
Because it stimulates the ovaries, a woman may produce more than one egg in each cycle, which can result in a pregnancy of twins (or, rarely, more). While a multiple pregnancy occurs for only about one in 15 women who conceive while taking clomiphene, it is something to consider before beginning treatment.