Several kinds of fertility drugs are available in the market. A majority of these drugs are made from hormones that help stimulate the woman’s reproductive system. Fertility drugs can largely be classified as:
iii. GnRH agonists
iv. GnRH antagonists
Progesterone plays a crucial role in helping a woman conceive. Some women however, produce an inadequate amount of this hormone, making impregnation difficult. Therefore, progesterone is administered to such women, either orally, through injections, or suppositories. Progesterone therapy may cause side-effects such as headaches, constipation, and nausea.
Many women find it difficult to conceive because their bodies lack the proper amount of follicle-stimulating hormone – the hormone that controls the process of ovulation. Gonadotropins are usually administered in either a recombinant or urine-based form.
This fertility drug is often administered to women who are undergoing the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. This form of drug boosts the level of follicle-stimulating hormone in the body, and them decreases it, therefore providing the medical practitioner with the control of the ovulation process.
The function of the GnRH antagonists is much the same as that of GnRH agonists. They are however, administered for a lesser duration of time than the GnRH agonists. A dose of this form of drug may lead to vaginal bleeding and abdominal pains. In rare cases, GnRH antagonists have also caused the ovaries to enlarge, a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).
Fertility drugs are also given to men, to prevent hormonal imbalance in their bodies and to improve fertility. Some of the drugs that help increase fertility in men are:
i. Antiestrogen agents
Antiestrogen drugs are given to men in order to make up for the lack of gonadotropins in their body. Lack of gonadotropins results in low level of testosterone in men. Antiestrogen drugs are used to stimulate the release of gonadotropins. Sometimes, the use of this drug can adversely affect the production of sperms. Therefore, men undergoing this therapy are advised to get their testosterone levels checked regularly.
An excessive level of prolactin in the male body may also be responsible for low fertility in men. This is because a high level of prolactin may result in low level of testosterone. Bromocriptine is therefore, administered to rectify this problem. It can result in high blood pressure in some cases.
Men are prescribed with testosterone-inducing pills or injections when they lack testosterone. This condition is referred to as hypogonadism. The usage of this drug may affect the functioning of liver.
Men, who have a low sperm count, or have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility, are administered gonadotropins drugs.