Ovulation Induction (OI) is a form of Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) that involves using hormone medication to stimulate ovulation. Ovulation is required in order to conceive naturally. Ovulation disorders are typically associated with irregular periods (oligomenorrhoea) or absent periods (amenorrhoea).
To understand Ovulation induction, we need to understand how the monthly cycle and ovulation works.
Each month, the pituitary gland in the base of the brain produces a hormone called ‘follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). FSH stimulates a fluid-like sac surrounding the egg to grow into a follicle about 2cm wide.
When the egg is ready, about two weeks before your period, the pituitary gland produces another hormone, the ‘luteinising hormone’ (LH). This hormone prompts the follicle to release one egg into the fallopian tube. This process is known as ‘Ovulation’.
Once it’s been established you have an ovulation problem, Dr Flynn will work out a treatment plan to start you ovulating again.
With Ovulation induction hormonal medications are used to stimulate the ovaries in order to produce an egg, which can then be fertilised by the male’s sperm.
The medications are taken at the beginning of the menstrual cycle, and you will be monitored throughout the cycle to determine when you are ovulating.
Unlike most home ovulation tests that just measure the level of luteinising hormone (LH) we also measure the quantity of oestrogen present throughout your cycle. This enables us to identify the period of time before you ovulate. We also perform ultrasounds to confirm that there are actually follicles developing in the ovaries.
Typically, treatment would look like:
With OI, the aim is to produce just one egg. This differs from other fertility treatments where the aim is to collect more than one egg each treatment cycle. Dr Flynn will prescribe and adjust the medications to ensure the treatment is individualised.
Medication will be in the form of either Letrozole tablets or injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) which are used to promote the growth and development of follicles within the ovary.
If you haven’t had fertility treatments previously, or have PCOS, the first treatment option might start with Letrozole tablets. These are taken for five days and encourage the brain to produce gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This stimulates the release of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH). These hormones stimulate follicles to grow and release eggs.
A stronger medication is daily injections of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). Known as gonadotrophins, these forms of FSH, LH and hCG found naturally in humans. Synthetic versions are used in IO to stimulate the ovaries to produce and mature multiple follicles
Through blood tests and an ultrasound scan, Dr Flynn can determine the approximate date of ovulation, and advise the best time for intercourse, or to perform IUI.
Ask your GP for a referral to Dr Michael Flynn - print this Referral Request and hand it to your GP.