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What is Ovulation Induction (OI)?

shutterstock_70579474For women who do not ovulate regularly, oral or injectable medications may be administered to support oocyte or egg development. The purpose of ovulation induction is to produce multiple eggs to increase the likely hood of conception. Ovulation induction (OI) is used in several forms of fertility treatment including, Clomid, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Normal ovulation usually produces only one egg. Ovulation induction with medications stimulates many follicles in your ovaries to develop so that several eggs will mature at once. Your doctor will evaluate you frequently through blood work and ultrasound monitoring to make sure your follicles (egg sacs) are developing properly and to evaluate the right time for your insemination or egg retrieval. Once the follicles are developed and the eggs are mature, your doctor will perform either an IUI procedure where sperm is inseminated into the uterus, or an egg retrieval procedure where egg and sperm is fertilized outside the body.

What should I expect during the ovulation induction process?

Ovulation induction involves treatment medications to stimulate follicle growth. A GnRH analog may be used to control follicle growth. Your treatment will depend on your specific needs.

  • A few days after your period begins, you will start treatment with follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) and/or human menopausal gonadotropins (hMG).
  • For the next week or so, your doctor will evaluate your hormone levels and examine your follicles by ultrasound frequency, to evaluate their development. Your doctor will also be monitoring you for potential medication side effects.
  • When your follicles are almost mature, your doctor will tell you when to take your human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection. hCG causes the final maturation of the eggs. The hCG injection is usually given about 35 hours before egg retrieval is scheduled.

Common Questions & Answers

What tests are used to examine my follicles and evaluate when the eggs are mature?

Before you start your medication, you will likely have an ultrasound and blood test. These tests will probably be repeated every few days, and they may become more frequent as your follicles reach maturity.

A friend told me that she didn’t get her hCG injection during her first treatment cycle. What happened?

There are a few reasons why hGC injection may be withheld:
  • There may not have been enough mature eggs for an IVF procedure – the follicles may not have developed properly, or only 1 or 2 follicles developed.
  • She may have ovulated prematurely (and the eggs cannot be retrieved)
  • She may have developed too many follicles, and the doctor feels that it would be unsafe to give the hCG injection.

I heard that ovulation induction is a very time-consuming process. Is that true?

Yes. A lot of your time will be devoted to attending appointments with you doctor, going for lab work, and taking your medications at exactly the right times. Ovulation induction will become a priority in your life (during that cycle), and everything else will have to be scheduled around your appointments and dosing schedule. It is a good idea to limit your social engagements during that time – you and your partner will need as much free tie as you can get.



Rita Gulati, MD, FACOG

Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey

Reproductive endocrinologist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ). View more blogs by Dr. Gulati.