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What Is Ovulation Induction?

Ovulation induction may be performed in preparation for the in vitro fertilization process.
Fertility drugs are often used to stimulate the maturing and release of eggs in the hopes of helping a woman to conceive a child.
Female reproductive system.
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  • Written By: N. Madison
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 24 August 2014
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Ovulation induction is the process of stimulating a woman’s body to produce and release an egg in the hopes that it will be fertilized. A woman may require ovulation induction when she does not ovulate or when she does not ovulate on a regular basis. In most cases, fertility drugs are used to cause a woman to ovulate; some of them may be taken by the mouth while others may be administered via an injection. Typically, the medications used for inducing ovulation are only available by prescription.

When things work as they should, a woman ovulates at about the midpoint of her cycle each month. This means her ovaries release a matured egg into her fallopian tube, and the egg then travels toward the uterus. If it is fertilized by a sperm and implants in the uterus, the woman becomes pregnant. Ovulation induction may help when a woman’s ovaries don’t produce mature eggs or release them when they should. It may also help when a woman’s ovulation is so unpredictable that it interferes with her ability to conceive a child.

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Fertility drugs are commonly used for inducing ovulation. They are often used to stimulate the maturing and release of eggs in the hopes of helping a woman to conceive a child. Drugs used in ovulation induction may also help influence when a woman will ovulate. This may make it easier for a woman to time sexual intercourse to result in pregnancy or schedule fertility procedures for the most optimal times. For example, ovulation induction may be timed to coincide with the scheduling of fertility procedures such as in vitro fertilization.

While ovulation induction may prove helpful for many women, there may be downsides to it in some cases. For example, a woman may be more likely to become pregnant with more than one child at a time when she conceives while using fertility drugs for ovulation induction. This is due to the fact that the drugs may cause her body to release more than one egg during ovulation; natural ovulation usually produces a single egg. Some women may also develop cysts on their ovaries in response to ovulation induction as well as a condition called ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. This serious medical condition may lead to such symptoms as vomiting, weight gain, and pain in the pelvic region; it may even cause the death of the patient in a severe case.

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