What are fertility drugs?
If you aren’t ovulating properly (producing and releasing an egg each month), fertility drugs – which trigger egg production in much the same way as your body’s own hormones – can help. This is known as ovulation induction.
You may get pregnant using fertility drugs alone, or you may be offered them with other treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilisation (IVF). If they are not used as part of treatment at a licensed fertility clinic, their use is not regulated by the HFEA.
Are fertility drugs for me?
Your clinic may recommend using fertility drugs if:
- you have such an irregular cycle that even if you are ovulating, ovulation is totally unpredictable
- you aren’t producing any eggs or are producing very few eggs
- your infertility is caused by failure of the pituitary gland.
Drugs are not as important in the treatment of male infertility as they are in the treatment of women. However they may occasionally be prescribed in certain situations, which may include:
- antibiotics to treat infection or inflammation
- vitamins C and E to improve sperm movement, although there is no convincing evidence that this improves the chance of pregnancy
- Gonadotrophin injections or pump administration for certain rare conditions in which no sperm is produced
- drugs that close the bladder neck when sperm are being ejaculated into the bladder instead of the penis (retrograde ejaculation).
Commonly prescribed fertility drugs
There a number of different types of fertility drugs that you may be recommended by your clinician. Have a look over our list of the most common fertility drugs to see what each one is prescribed for, and what the possible side effects could be.
The list also covers drugs used to give you more control over your treatment cycle.
What are the risks of fertility drugs?
Apart from the risks of the side-effects described on our list of common fertility drugs, taking fertility drugs increases your chances of a multiple pregnancy and birth.
For more information, see:
Page last updated: 14 April 2009