Fertility drugs for women generally work by promoting ovulation. Some stimulate hormones that promote egg maturation while others stimulate egg maturation in the ovaries directly. Infertility treatment coverage is mandated in some states but not in others, and the treatments covered by employer and private health insurance plans vary as well. If you experience irregular cycles or anovulation -- a cycle where ovulation doesn't take place -- or you're concerned about your fertility needs, speak with your health care provider about the best choices to help you conceive.
Clomiphene citrate is often the first stop in fertility treatments, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. It aids in the treatment of irregular ovulation or anovulatory cycles -- a common cause of infertility.
The drug acts as an anti-estrogen drug by causing the hypothalamus and pituitary gland in the brain to secrete hormones -- gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). In turn, these hormones stimulate egg maturation in the ovaries, the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago says.
Using Clomiphene Citrate
The drug is administered in pill form beginning on day two, three, four or five of your menstrual cycle and continuing for five consecutive days. Ovulation should take place approximately seven days later. However, if the drug fails to stimulate ovulation, your doctor may increase the dosage each month by 50 milligrams per day. Between 55 percent and 73 percent of women using clomiphene citrate will conceive as a result, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Conception often occurs within three menstrual cycles. However, the society advises that it should not be continued for longer than six months. The cost for clomiphene citrate ranges from $10 to $100 per cycle, according to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago.
Clomiphene citrate users generally report only mild, brief side effects that can include mood swings, hot flashes and blurred vision.
Your health care provider may prescribe injectable hormones to stimulate ovulation. They may be prescribed on their own or in conjunction with clomiphene citrate, depending on your fertility needs.
Human chorionic gonadotropin injections trigger the release of mature eggs. Follicle-stimulating hormone injections are used to stimulate the development and maturation of follicles (eggs), but carry an increased likelihood of multiple births. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone stimulates the release of follicle stimulating and luteinizing hormones from the pituitary gland.
The cost of injectable fertility drugs ranges between $1,000 to $3,500 per cycle, depending on the number of units necessary per day and number of treatment days required, according to the Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago.
A condition called hyperprolactinemia can interfere with fertility in women. It is a relatively common condition whereby an excess amount of prolactin is secreted from the pituitary gland, which inhibits ovulation by reducing estrogen and progesterone levels, according to the ASRM. The common causes of hyperprolactinemia include an underactive thyroid, depression medication, pituitary tumors, excessive stress or exercise, nipple stimulation and even irritation of the chest wall from an excessively tight bra.
Your doctor may prescribe bromocriptine or cabergoline and adjust the dosage regularly to obtain optimal results. Within a few months, the drug can reduce prolactin levels, resulting in menstruation and ovulation. Following this, you may try to conceive naturally. The cost of bromocriptine ranges from $75 to $112 per cycle, according to BabyCenter.com.