Ovulation can be established by several methods. Oral (pill form) medications are usually the initial step to achieve ovulation due to their lower cost, simpler use, and low risk for multiple births. There are several oral medications used for ovulation induction, the most common of which are Clomiphene (Clomid) and Letrozole (Femara).
Both Clomid and Letrozole work to achieve the same result but in slightly different ways. Both serve to “fool” the brain into believing that the ovaries are not responding to the hormone signals from the brain’s pituitary gland. In response, the pituitary gland produces more of the ovary-stimulating hormones in order to get a response. This surge of hormones is often able to induce ovulation in many women.
Once a woman’s eggs have been stimulated with clomiphene or letrozole, conception is possible with either artificial insemination or intercourse. Higher pregnancy rates generally occur when these are combined with insemination rather than timed intercourse. If a patient fails to achieve pregnancy with Clomid or Letrozole, or is not a candidate, the next option for promoting egg development is through the use of injectable medications called gonadotropins.