Clomiphene citrate therapy: how long should we try?
Setting expectations for your treatment course
What to expect
About 25% of women with conception difficulties have problems developing or releasing a mature egg. This condition is called anovulation. Clomiphene citrate is commonly prescribed to stimulate ovulation in women who do not ovulate or ovulate infrequently and whose male partners are fertile.
During the first half of the menstrual cycle, the hypothalamus gland releases a hormone called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). If too little or too much is released, normal follicle development will not take place and ovulation will not occur. Clomiphene citrate stimulates the release of GnRH to restore ovulation.
Some statistics to keep in mind
- Clomiphene citrate brings on ovulation in 80% of appropriately selected patients.1
- Among those who respond to clomiphene citrate the average chances of getting pregnant are 15% per cycle.1
- Up to 45% of clomiphene citrate-responsive women may become pregnant within six treatment cycles.2
How long should we try?
Six ovulatory cycles is considered to be sufficient time to establish if pregnancy can be achieved with clomiphene citrate treatment. In fact, 71-88%3 of the pregnancies achieved with clomiphene citrate were reported with the first three cycles of treatment.
Fertility declines with age. If you have not been successful with clomiphene citrate treatment after six treatment cycles, it is wise to discuss with your doctor what further diagnostics and treatments should be considered.1
Finding the right help
It requires great skill to identify the source of fertility problems and recommend appropriate treatment. A specialised clinic will be able to offer a complete diagnosis and advanced treatment options – beyond your doctor’s care. The difficulties you’re having may be due to a variety of factors affecting both you and your partner. The good news is that there’s a range of treatments available. Look at the fertility pathway and learn about treatment options.
1. Use of clomiphene citrate in women. The Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Fertil Steril 2006;86:S187-193 2. Medications for Inducing Ovulation. A Guide for Patients. ASRM 2006; http://www.asrm.org/Patients/patientbooklets/ovulation_drugs.pdf 3. Homburg R. Clomiphene citrate—end of an era? A mini-review. Hum Reprod. 2005;20(8): 2043-2051.