Ovulation Induction

Regular ovulation and menstruation go hand in hand. It’s possible that you have an ovulation abnormality if you get irregular periods, infrequent periods, or no periods at all. It may be necessary to take medication to induce follicle development and ovulation if you have an atypical ovulation pattern and are attempting to get pregnant.

If you have regular menstrual cycles, e.g. in unexplained or poorly explained fertility, your fertility specialist may recommend ovulation induction medication in an attempt to increase the chance of pregnancy.

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Ovulation can be confirmed by several methods:

  • After the event by a blood test to measure progesterone.
  • Urinary LH testing (ovulation detection kit): These kits detect the pre-ovulatory LH surge that occurs approximately 24 hours before ovulation. The best time for intercourse is 24 to 36 hours after the LH surge.
  • Ultrasound cycle tracking: The development of the ‘leading follicle’ – the follicle which contains the egg which is likely to ovulate in a particular cycle – can be tracked by ultrasound scan. If a woman is having hormone treatment for fertility assistance there may be several suitable follicles developing at the same

Ovulatory dysfunction

Women may not ovulate consistently for a variety of reasons. A signalling issue between the brain and the ovaries causes the usual hormone pathways to malfunction in some women. Ovulation is thus irregular, infrequent, or absent. Women who exercise vigorously and those who are underweight frequently experience this. Additionally, it is typical in female shift workers, such as flight attendants and healthcare workers

The most common cause for ovulatory dysfunction is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a very common hormonal condition associated with long cycles or infrequent or absent periods, excess activity of some hormones and which is sometimes associated with weight gain, excess facial and body hair, acne and insulin resistance.

Other hormonal disorders, such as abnormalities in prolactin secretion or thyroid function, may also result in irregular ovulation.

Ovulation failure can also result from premature ovarian insufficiency (POI). This could be temporary or permanent. Since ovulation induction treatment will not resolve this issue, using donor eggs may be suggested.

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