Is ovulation induction for me?

Ovulation induction (OI) is a fertility treatment that helps women with ovulation problems. It is normally used for women who:

  • don't ovulate regularly or often (e.g., women with irregular periods)
  • don't normally ovulate at all (e.g., women who have no periods)
  • are undergoing IUI (intrauterine insemination), to make sure that a mature egg will be available for fertilization when the procedure is done
  • are undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization), to release mature eggs that can then be collected and fertilized

Ovulation problems are a common cause of fertility issues. Fortunately, this is one of the easiest problems to fix. If you think you may have an ovulation problem, it's definitely worth talking to your doctor or visiting a fertility clinic to see if you may benefit from OI. You may have an ovulation problem if:

  • you don't have any menstrual periods
  • you have irregular periods
  • you have thyroid disease
  • you are very overweight
  • you are very underweight or exercise intensely
  • you have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • you have regular periods but you don't seem to be ovulating (see "How do you know if you're ovulating" below)
  • you are tracking your ovulation patterns and have noticed unusual results

You can also look at any lifestyle factors that may be affecting your fertility.

How do you know if you're ovulating? There are two main methods:

  • basal body temperature (BBT): Take your temperature every morning when you wake up, and chart it on a calendar. You should see a small spike in body temperature after you ovulate. Over time, you can use your charts to figure out when you usually ovulate.
  • ovulation predictor kits: These kits, available at your local pharmacy, work by detecting hormones that indicate ovulation is about to occur.

You should also see your doctor to discuss fertility if:

  • you are planning a pregnancy and have any concerns about fertility
  • you're under 35 and have been trying for 12 months or more
  • you're 35 and older and you have been trying for 6 months or more
  • you have had 3 or more miscarriages in a row

Talking to your doctor can help you learn whether you should consider OI, and what you can do to improve your fertility.

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