Treatments for Fertility Problems: Overview of Fertility Drugs

Many couples dealing with infertility explore options in surgery and drug therapy, and while some infertility problems are easier to treat than others, the complete treatment plan can be costly. Women who are unable to get pregnant often turn to fertility drugs and prescription medications that stimulate the ovaries to release a healthy amount of eggs during each cycle.

While these drugs and medications do have some side effects, they may increase the chances of getting pregnant. Here’s a close look at some of the most readily available fertility drugs for treating fertility problems in the United States:

Types of Fertility Drugs

There are four major types of fertility drugs available in the United States, Europe and certain parts of South America. These include:
Progesterone – a naturally occurring hormone that can be administered orally, through injections or via vaginal gels to increase hormone levels naturally.
Gonadotrophins – designed for women who have low levels of a follicle-stimulating hormone or luteinizing hormone, these drugs are available in recombinant and urine-based forms.
GnRH Antagonists – these fertility drugs prevent the release of luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormones so that the doctor can control the ovulation process. These drugs are typically administered over a set of intervals to
GnRH Agonists - typically coupled with in vitro fertilization methods, these fertility drugs help to increase production of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones.

Fertility Drugs and Medications Available in the United States

Some of the most readily available fertility drugs and medications available in the United States include:
  • HCG (an injectable hormone) – common types include Pregnyl, Ovidrel and Profasi
  • Recombinant FSH
  • Urofollitropin
  • Heparin
  • HmG (injectable hormone) – common types include Pergonal, Metrodin and Repronex
  • Tamoxifen/Nolvadex
  • Bromocriptine
Clomid is one of the most commonly prescribed fertility drugs but many women experience a number of side effects from the drug. Lower abdominal cramps and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome are among the most common side effects of taking Clomid, and in some rare cases, the large amounts of fluid released into the abdominal cavity can cause heart or kidney failure. The Clomid prescription regimen typically involves taking the drug on the fifth day of the start of the menstrual cycle and ending it on the ninth day. In some cases, women can increase their chances of pregnancy with a three-day regimen.
Women can check if they ovulate using Clomid by monitoring their basal body temperature throughout the course of their menstrual cycle. If their basal body temperature stays up for 17 days or more after ovulation, they can run a pregnancy test. If the woman is unable to get pregnant with the prescribed dosage, the dose may be increased from 50 mg to 100 mg up to 250 mg , depending on the level of side effects experienced.
Learn more about IVF treatments in our information guide, or consult with an infertility specialist in your area to find out if you are a good candidate for any of these fertility drugs and treatment options.