For some couples, ovulation induction medications with timed intercourse is all that is needed to achieve a pregnancy. In order for a woman’s body to have the potential to become pregnant, she must ovulate (release) a mature egg. During the follicular phase, or first phase, of a woman’s menstrual cycle, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is released from her brain which stimulates the growth of an average of 10-12 egg follicles. One of these follicles will become the lead follicle growing into a mature egg, while the others will die off. On approximately day 14 of her cycle, a second hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH), is released from the brain which triggers ovulation. Approximately 24-36 hours after the LH surge, the egg is released from the ovary and has approximately 24 hours to be fertilized by a sperm cell. If the egg is not fertilized within this time frame, it will dissolve and the woman will continue into the luteal phase, or second phase, of her menstrual which will begin to prepare her body to start the cycle over the following month.
Timed intercourse is the simplest form of treatment a couple can receive. With a limited time frame for fertilization to occur, it is important to have intercourse at the appropriate time. Monitoring occurs to track approximately when you will ovulate, so you have a greater potential for fertilization.
If a woman’s menstrual cycle is irregular, she may not be ovulating on a consistent basis or at all. Ovulatory disorders are one of the most common causes of infertility and account for infertility in 25% of couples.
One way to evaluate ovulation is to track your basal body temperature (BBT), the lowest body temperature typically occurring during sleep. Your BBT will rise slightly just before ovulation due to the production of hormones that indicate ovulation. If your BBT does not increase, these means the hormone indicating ovulation is not present.
If a woman is not ovulating, we can use a combination of ovulation induction (fertility) medications to help grow follicles and time the release of the egg. This is so intercourse can be timed appropriately to increase the chances of fertilization.
While each patient is unique, we follow a general timeline when prescribing medications and monitoring progress. This will determine when ovulation will occur and when intercourse should occur.
The Ovulation Induction Cycle
While each individual’s cycle will vary slightly, this is a general timeline:
DAY 1: (of your menstrual cycle) Call the clinic to arrange an appointment.
BY DAY 5: start taking medication
DAY 12: blood and ultrasound tests
AFTER DAY 12: possibly repeat ultrasound
Schedule a consultation to understand if ovulation induction and timed intercourse is a viable treatment option for you to achieve pregnancy.