Clomiphene citrate, or Clomid, is an oral fertility medication that has been used to stimulate ovulation for more than 40 years. It is often prescribed for women that are not ovulating normally, or in combination with other fertility methods, such as assisted reproductive techniques (ART) or artificial insemination.
How Does Clomid Work?
Clomid is known as an estrogen-blocking drug, which means it blocks estrogen receptors at the hypothalamus, your body’s hormone control center. In response the hypothalamus releases a number of naturally-occurring ovarian stimulants, including:
- Gonadotropin-releasing Hormone (GnRH)
- Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH)
- Luteinizing Hormone (LH)
The release of these stimulants triggers ovulation, which is the release of an egg from the ovary.
Who Can Benefit from Clomid?
Clomid has been shown to help women and couples get pregnant when they are facing the following infertility concerns:
Ovulation is absolutely essential in order for a woman to conceive, so irregular menstruation cycles can make it difficult to know when she is ovulating. If Clomid is effective, it will not only help trigger ovulation, but it will also help regulate it for more predictable ovulation. This helps the couple know when to time intercourse or plan for intrauterine insemination for higher chances of conception.
Male Factor Infertilit
Intrauterine insemination may be recommended in cases where there is a concern with semen quality, such as low motility, which may be making pregnancy difficult. Clomid can increase the chance of pregnancy by improving the timing of insemination.
In some cases, couples can experience difficulties getting pregnant even when they have a “normal” fertility evaluation. This is referred to as unexplained infertility. In most cases, unexplained infertility can be explained by advanced testing and at LA IVF we’ll be able to identify the cause in almost all cases. In such cases, Clomid can be effective in increasing pregnancy rates by allowing the patient to release more than one egg which is called superovulation. The pregnancy chances are typically double compared to a natural cycle by releasing two eggs instead of one. The risk of twins is also increased to approximately 5-10% in each cycle.
Clomid Success Rate
Your success rate with Clomid will depend on your unique circumstances, but most women, between 60 and 80 percent, will ovulate with the fertility medication. Half of these will be able to obtain a viable pregnancy within three cycles granted that they are younger than age 35. The number of cycles you should take should be discussed with your physician. They will be able to discuss your specific needs and long-term goals to outline a fertility plan that will best work for you and your growing family.
Are There Risks Associated with Clomid?
As with any medication, you should discuss potential side effects or risks of Clomid prior to taking it. Talk to your physician if you have or have had a history of existent large ovarian cysts or liver disease, as these are contraindications for Clomid. Severe side effects are rare, but may include visual changes, headaches, mood swings, hives, dizziness, hair thinning or hyperstimulation of the ovaries (uncommon with Clomid). With hyperstimulation, your ovaries become enlarged and you can experience severe pain or abdominal swelling. You should contact your physician immediately if you are taking Clomid and notice these symptoms.
Side Effects of Clomid
Side effects are generally mild, but may include:
- Blurred vision
- Hot flashes
Clomid, like many fertility drugs, may also increase your chances of having multiple ovulations or births. Your chance of having twins with the medication is between 5 and 10 percent, but the chance of triplets or other higher order multiples is less than 0.5 percent. Because of the higher rate potential for twins, your physician will discuss your ability to carry multiples in a pregnancy prior to prescribing Clomid.
Is Clomid Right for You?
If you have been facing pregnancy difficulties, talk to the physicians at LA IVF about Clomid. We can help you decide whether this fertility drug is right for you with a fertility evaluation and one-on-one discussion of your family’s needs and concerns. Schedule your evaluation and consultation today by contacting our office.