Family Fertility Center

Ovulation Induction

Increasing your chances of becoming pregnant

Ovulation disorders — when women ovulate infrequently or not at all — are a common cause of infertility. Ovulation induction is a fertility treatment that uses medications to help your ovaries release an egg, increasing your chances of becoming pregnant. Ovulation induction can be combined with other fertility treatments to further improve your chance of conception.


We’re here to help you achieve a successful pregnancy, even in the most challenging cases. We offer a full range of fertility treatments and services, a state-of-the-art lab and the latest technologies and techniques to improve your chances of conceiving.


How ovulation induction works

Ovulation induction therapy typically takes 1 to 2 weeks. While treatment varies based on your needs and preferences, in general the process includes:

  • Oral medications. A 5-day course of oral medications, sometimes referred to as “fertility drugs,” are prescribed to improve your ovulation process. The medications can be used to stimulate your ovaries to produce additional eggs or to trigger your ovaries to start releasing eggs again if you aren’t ovulating. Medications may also be prescribed to promote egg maturation, prevent early ovulation and prepare the uterine lining for implantation. Our reproductive endocrinology specialists carefully personalize your treatment to best meet your ovulation needs and optimize your chances of conception.
  • Monitoring your cycle. Our specialists closely monitor your ovaries and egg development using ultrasound imaging and bloodwork, assessing your body’s response to the medications.
  • Timed intercourse. Ovulation induction can be combined with timed intercourse to further improve your chances of conception. By monitoring your ovulation, our specialists can advise you on the best days to have intercourse, increasing the possibility of pregnancy.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

If more conservative approaches aren’t successful, or you’re concerned about sperm not being optimal for intercourse, ovulation induction can be combined with intrauterine insemination (IUI), also known as artificial insemination, to improve delivery of sperm to the egg. Healthy sperm are collected, analyzed and placed inside your uterus 2 days after ovulation is triggered, increasing your chance of fertilization. Donor sperm can also be used.


Is ovulation induction right for you?

Ovulation induction is often used for:

  • Women with irregular ovulation (oligoovulation)
  • Women who aren’t ovulating (anovulation)
  • Women with cervical factor infertility
  • Patients with unexplained infertility
  • Men with lower sperm counts or sperm motility issues
  • Patients using donor sperm
  • Patients seeking a more conservative approach before considering in vitro fertilization (IVF)


Risks and side effects

Like many treatments, potential side effects may occur. These can include:

  • Medication side effects. If fertility medication side effects occur, they’re usually mild and may include mood changes and hot flashes.
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. In rare cases, the ovaries may become swollen and cause pain and bloating, a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Additional symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, rapid weight gain due to the accumulation of fluids, shortness of breath and decreased urine output. Rest may be all that’s required to resolve symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation. In severe cases, drainage of excess fluid may be necessary.
  • Multiple gestation. Fertility medications increase the risk of becoming pregnant with multiples from about 3% to 8%. The chance of twins is increased with ovulation induction, but the chance of triplets does not increase. The risk of having triplets or more is less than 1%.


Emotional considerations and support

Like all infertility treatments, ovulation induction can be stressful and isolating, taking an emotional toll on individuals and relationships. Treatment often involves multiple steps separated by periods of waiting for critical results.

At the Family Fertility Center, we help you cope with the stress and anxiety of an infertility diagnosis and treatment through specialized support from reproductive psychiatrists at The Women’s Place at Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women, one of only a handful of programs in the United States dedicated to the care and treatment of women’s reproductive mental health.