Fertility Drugs

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Fertility drugs can be explained as drugs that are used to increase fertility in men and women. Fertility drugs work by increasing the levels of certain hormones in the human body and are most often the first step used in fertility treatment. In women, these drugs stimulate ovulation! In other words, the hormones produced by the fertility drugs help to develop and release eggs at the end of each month.

According to Dr. Henaku-Larbi, Head of the Accra Fertility Centre, Medifem Multi-specialist Hospital and Fertility Centre, fertility drugs cannot function without the four main factors responsible for fertility; the sperms, the womb, the fallopian tubes and the production of egg. He explained that fertility drugs are used to control any of these four factors with the sole aim of making babies.

Types of fertility drugs

There are different types of fertility drugs for both men and women. Just as women need the right amount of hormones to be able to ovulate regularly, men on the other hand also need particular hormones in order to produce healthy sperms to fertilize an egg.

Male fertility drugs

In cases where there is depression or reduction in the quality of the male sperms, fertility drugs are used to improve the quality.

There are a lot of male fertility drugs: fertilovit, proxeed plus, clomiphene or clomid, letrozole,bromocriptine, imipramine ,etc. Natural honey can also be used to promote or boost the strength and quality of the male sperms according to Dr. Henaku-Larbi. It is however essential to see a fertility specialist for proper fertility diagnosis and specific medication prescription.

Female fertility drugs

There are many fertility drugs for women. Some are taken orally whilst others are given by injection. The most common of all are Clomid, Gonadotropin and Bromocriptine. They are preferred by most fertility specialists as the first step in infertility treatment due to their high success rates.

Clomid for instance is known to be one of the best drugs used in treating fertility problems and has been in use for so many years. It is anti-estrogen and usually given to women who do not ovulate normally. Clomid suppresses the body’s estrogens through a channel in the brain and releases hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs. The good news is, a greater percentage of women who take clomid will ovulate and be able to get pregnant. However, there are some mild side effects of clomid or chlomiphene such as blurred vision, nausea, hot flashes, headache and bloating. Clomid can also cause changes in the cervical mucus, making ovulation less visible to the woman.

Some examples of the injectable fertility drugs are Fostimon, Merional, Gonal F, Puregon, among others. Dr. Henaku-Larbi said “these injections are called FSH drugs (Follicle Stimulating Hormone drugs) and work by stimulating the ovaries to produce eggs and are very effective”.

Fertility boosting injections are usually given in different doses depending on the nature of their use. A dose is typically given on the 2nd or 3rd day of a woman’s menstrual cycle and can be given at different parts of the body; the buttocks, the stomach, thighs or arms. Sometimes, some of the injections are received in the muscle or just beneath the skin. The success rates of the injectable drugs are comparatively high. However, there can be side effects such as swelling of the injected part, bruises, blood blisters, among others.

What are the risks in fertility drugs/injections?

It is essential to know that, just like any other treatment, fertility drugs/injections also come with some risk. A major risk that is involved with their use is an increased chance of multiple births. A recordable percentage of women using fertility drugs tend to have multiple births.

There is also an increased risk of miscarriage involved especially when not handled by a specialist. Ovarian hyper-stimulation (a condition that causes the ovaries to become large with fluid) is another risk. Other risks include complications in pregnancy, higher chances of premature labor, nausea, bloating, increased risk of blood clots, among others.

Risks associated with the use of any fertility drug should be reported immediately to the service provider. Although all the medication described above are fertility boosters, it is critical to seek professional assistance and prescription before using them.  It is absolutely vital to avoid self-medication!