Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is not a very difficult procedure, but there is one very tricky part and that is making sure ovulation is in synch with the timing of the insemination. If your doctor gets that part right, you may just conceive. But it isn't always easy to pinpoint the time of ovulation. Lucky for you, medical science has a variety of ovulation induction medications to make sure you ovulate just at the time IUI is to happen. This is crucial in the case where IUI is used to treat infertility due to ovulatory dysfunction.
The most convenient and least expensive of the medications used for inducing ovulation is the oral medication known as Clomid. But Clomid has a tendency to thicken the cervical mucus making your internal environment hostile to sperm.
In other cases, Clomid may not be enough of a good thing and you may need to have something added to your regimen, such as an injectable medication.
In some cases, your doctor will want to take you off the Clomid altogether and just use the injectable, alone. The usual medication that is brought into play at this point is an injectable form of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). This hormone stimulates the production of follicles and promotes the maturation of the eggs.
When Clomid and hCG together or alone, can't solve the problem, your physician may add a second injectable treatment known as follitropin beta. This medication is marketed in the United States under these names: Gonal f RFF, Follistim AQ, and Follistim. No matter what you call it, this treatment acts much like the follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) that are manufactured by the pituitary gland. This hormone assists the development of the eggs prior to their release from the ovaries.
Yet another trick up your fertility doctor's sleeves is gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) which is given just before treatment is begun with follitropin beta. GnRHa blocks the pituitary from secreting FSH so that a more controlled, exact amount of follitropin beta can be given to increase a woman's chances for conception.
If you're given hCG along with follitropin beta, the former is given as a one-time only dose just after the last dose of follitropin beta. Follitropin is a subcutaneous injection, or an injection just under your skin, or sometimes as an intramuscular injection (into the muscle). This is given starting on the second or third day of your period. On the fourth day, the dose is increased.
These drugs require careful monitoring of the patients. Your doctor may even want to see you every other day. He will check you for side effects and assess your condition to see if the medication is effective. This monitoring process will include ultrasound testing and blood tests to evaluate your hormone levels. Even once this treatment is discontinued, your doctor will continue to monitor you every other day for a minimum of two weeks.