The purpose of ovarian stimulation is to allow 2-3 follicles to continue to grow to dominant follicles such that 2-3 eggs will be released into the fallopian tubes. This can improve the chances of fertilization and pregnancy.
Each month in a natural menstrual cycle the ovary will develop multiple follicles (fluid-filled sacs that contain an egg). However, only one follicle will become dominant while the others die off. The dominant follicle will rupture to release one egg into the fallopian tube where it may be fertilized after meeting sperm.
Ovarian stimulation is often one of the first treatment options for those who are candidates. Usually, oral medications are the first-line options to achieve this. These medications are usually started between menstrual cycle days 3-5 and are taken for five days total. We may recommend monitoring the outcome with a transvaginal ultrasound on menstrual cycle days 10-12. Alternatively, your response to ovarian stimulation may be monitored through a home ovulation predictor kit which can be purchased over the counter.
Ovarian stimulation may also be achieved through an injectable, instead of by mouth, medications. This may be recommended in a limited group of patients as there are more risks with this treatment option.
All types of ovarian stimulation increase the risk of a multiple gestation pregnancy and should be discussed with your treating physician.