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Ovarian Stimulation

Ovarian Stimulation
When the clinical investigation of a particular case indicates that a couple's infertility is due to an ovulatory problem and there is not a simultaneous existence of a male problem, it is likely that the doctor would recommend hormone therapy as the most appropriate solution to the issue.

In these situations the treatment is essentially a period of ovarian stimulation, followed by timed intercourse, with the date and time specified by the doctor who coordinates the treatment.

There are several types of treatment with ovarian stimulation, which are detailed below:

With Clomiphene Citrate

  • Usually with this treatment we start by trying to induce ovulation with a drug called Clomiphene Citrate, which is most suitable for women who have an ovulatory dysfunction and a fertile partner. This is the oldest and probably the most used of the drugs involved in the treatment of infertility. This is used to make the ovaries produce follicles ("bags of oocytes") and effectively tricks the brain into thinking that there are low amounts of oestrogen in circulation, which indirectly stimulates the ovaries to produce oocytes. This is a drug that is used mainly in women under 40 years, whose infertility is due to problems with ovulation.


    If therapy with Clomiphene citrate is not effective, it may be necessary to use medicines containing gonadotropins (FSH and LH).

With gonadotropins

In situations where treatment with Clomiphene Citrate does not work, the use of medicines containing gonadotropins, which are hormones that act by stimulating the ovaries directly, promoting follicular development and oocytes, may be necessary.


The gonadotropin hormones used in the treatment of infertility can be urinary (extracted and purified from the urine of postmenopausal women) or recombinant (synthesised in the laboratory by applying biotechnology techniques).


The two main gonadotropins are follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), so called because they exert their effects mainly on the ovaries and testes (also called gonads).


In women, FSH and LH exert complementary but separate actions: The growth and development of ovarian follicles and the synthesis and secretion of important ovarian hormones, such as oestrogens and progesterone.


FSH stimulates follicle development, whereas LH is the most important hormone in the luteal phase. Decreases or imbalances in the levels of LH and FSH can lead to situations such as anovulation (no ovulation) and infertility. In the presence of high levels of intratesticular androgens, FSH induces spermatogenesis (sperm production).


The gonadotropins are administered by injection and are the most common drugs used to treat infertility in modern day. When the ovaries are properly developed, an injection of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is administered to trigger the ovulation process and the subsequent release of an oocyte. These type of drugs are used to stimulate ovulation in IUI cycles, IVF and ICSI treatment cycles or timed intercourse.

Please note that:

  • Its use should be done under strict medical supervision from an IVF specialist. Its improper use can cause serious problems, such as Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome. Less controlled use of these drugs may also increase the risk of a multiple pregnancy (which can cause problems both for the mother or for the children who are yet to be born).

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