Fertility medication

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Fertility medication, better known as fertility drugs, are drugs which enhance reproductive fertility. For women, fertility medication is used to stimulate follicle development of the ovary. There are currently very few fertility medication options available for men.

Agents that enhance ovarian activity can be classified as either Gonadotropin releasing hormone, Estrogen antagonists or Gonadotropins.

Female

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone

Either Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) or any Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (i.e. Lupron) may be used. GnRH releases gonadotropins from the hypothalamus in the body.

Oestrogen antagonists

Fertility medication inhibiting the effects of estrogen includes Clomiphene and Aromatase inhibitors.

Clomiphene

Clomiphene (trademarked as Clomid) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM). It is the most widely used fertility drug. It is used as an ovarian stimulator by inhibiting the negative feedback of estrogen at the hypothalamus.

Aromatase inhibitors

Although primarily a breast cancer treatment, aromatase inhibitors can also work as fertility medication, probably through a mechanism similar to clomiphene.

Gonadotropins

Gonadotropins are the hormones in the body that normally stimulate the gonads (testes and ovaries). For medication, they can be extracted from urine or by genetic modification.

For example, the so-called menotropins consist of LH and FSH extracted from human urine from menopausal women.[1] FSH and FSH analogues are mainly used for ovarian hyperstimulation as well as reversal of anovulation.

There are also recombinant variants which are created by inserting the DNA coding for it into bacteriae. The bacterial DNA is then called Recombinant DNA. Examples of recombinant FSH are Follistim and Gonal F, while Luveris is a recombinant LH.

Human chorionic gonadotropin

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is normally produced during pregnancy. However, it can also replace LH as an ovulation inducer.

Other

hMG is a medication containing a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Male

There currently are no effective medications to treat oligospermia, so other assisted reproductive technologies are used.

Research in male fertility medication is currently ongoing. A study in Egypt assessed the efficacy of a combination of clomiphene and vitamin E in improving sperm count and sperm motility in male infertility.[2]

Adverse effects

Estrogen antagonists and gonadotropins may stimulate multiple follicles and other ovarian hormones leading to multiple birth and possible ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Clomiphene Side Effects:

See also

Manufacturers:

References

    1. REDIRECT Template:MeSH name
  1. Ghanem H et al. Combination clomiphene and antioxidant therapy for idiopathic male infertility: A randomized controlled trial. Fertil Steril 2009 Mar 5; [e-pub ahead of print]. Published in Journal Watch General Medicine March 31, 2009
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