Though HRC Fertility provides the full array of high-tech solutions for infertility, many of our patients with ovulatory problems can benefit from simpler, first-step approaches. This includes taking an oral medication, such as Clomid.
Hailed as a game-changer when it was first introduced, Clomid is one of the most popular medications in the world to help women conceive. It's also a cost effective and easy first step. Also known by its generic name, clomiphene citrate, Clomid is marketed as Serophene.
Clomid primarily helps stimulate ovulation. It works at the level of the hypothalamus where it blocks estrogen receptors, making your body think estrogen levels are lower than they are. The hypothalamus responds by producing more gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), which then stimulates the pituitary to produce follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). These hormones, in turn, then stimulate follicular development and function.
Here are some key facts you should know about Clomid if your doctor feels it can help you get pregnant.
Appropriate for an ovulatory infertility
Approximately 30 percent of female infertility patients experience ovulation issues, such as irregular or absent ovulation or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Clomid can help these women ovulate.
Simple to take
Clomid is taken in the form of pill, starting on the third to fifth day of the menstrual cycle. It's taken for five consecutive days and can be repeated every 30 days. Your doctor will determine the optimal dosage depending on how you might respond. In subsequent attempts, the dosage may be increased by 50 mg increments. During a treatment cycle, patients are encouraged to check for ovulation by monitoring daily urine sample with an OPK (ovulation predictor kit) that you can obtain from a local pharmacy. Your physician may also check for ovulation by obtainng a Day 20 to 22 progesterone blood level.
While you are taking Clomid, we will monitor your progress with ultrasounds and blood tests that assess how the follicles are developing and ovulation is proceeding. Monitoring with ultrasound and blood tests help ensure that your dosage is appropriate.
How pregnancy occurs
Your doctor will recommend either sexual intercourse or intrauterine insemination (IUI) timed to coincide with ovulation, which is determined by cycle monitoring. IUIs are particularly useful if a couple has unexplained infertility.
Clomid can cause side effects such as hot flashes, visual disturbances, nausea and bloating. There is the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) if too many follicles are produced, but this is not common with Clomid. Patients are also at risk for multiple births, including twins or triplets.
Pregnancy usually occurs during the first three months of infertility therapy, and treatment beyond six months is not recommended. Reported success rates for Clomid IUI cycles for couples typically range between 5-10 percent per cycle depending on the woman's age and the couple's overall diagnosis.
Clomid may be appropriate for many patients searching for initial, cost-effective infertility treatments. Depending on your diagnosis, your doctor will determine if you are a good candidate for this tried and true method of jumpstart conception.