The Success Rate of Ovulation Induction

If you want to know what the success rate of ovulation induction is, the short answer is that at Medfem Fertility Clinic, ovulation induction treatment generally produces pregnancy rates of 10% to 20% per cycle, depending on a woman’s age, diagnosis and duration of infertility.

The longer and more interesting answer is that ovulation induction is one of the most effective fertility treatments for a number of common infertility challenges.

In this article, we take a closer look at the success rate of ovulation induction, who it is for and why it is so effective in those circumstances, and what the actual treatment entails.

How successful is ovulation induction?

Healthy, fertile couples typically have a 20% to 25% chance that they will become pregnant each month they try.

In contrast, among couples with infertility, the pregnancy rate is usually between 2% to 10% per month.

Depending on a woman’s age, diagnosis, and duration of infertility, ovulation induction treatment can usually produce pregnancy rates of 10% to 20% per cycle, bringing it closer to the typical pregnancy rate of fertile couples. In fact, among women with certain ovulatory disorders, ovulation induction treatment may even restore normal fertility rates of 20% to 25% per month.

If you are undergoing ovulation induction treatment, more than one treatment cycle may be required. If you do not become pregnant within the first three treatment cycles, your fertility specialist at Medfem Fertility Clinic will discuss other treatment options with you.

Who is ovulation induction for?

Couples who may benefit from ovulation induction treatment are those with unexplained infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and ovarian dysfunction. Ovulation induction might also benefit women with ovulation problems that have not responded to simpler medications.

The treatment is most often used in women with PCOS, a condition characterised by multiple ovarian cysts, irregular or absent periods, and high levels of male hormones.

For most women who are not ovulating, the reason is confused hormonal signals from the body, which means that ovulation cannot occur in the usual way.

When ovulation occurs on an infrequent basis, it is called pituitary dysfunction. When ovulation fails to occur at all – known as anovulation – and there are no periods (called amenorrhoea), the term pituitary failure is used.

In addition to a lack of menstruation, irregular menstrual cycles and/or infrequent menstruation, pituitary dysfunction and failure have some associated features that are common to people have trouble conceiving.

These can include obesity; excessive weight loss or gain; abnormal or excessive hair growth on the face and body; and acne.

Amenorrohoea is the most common ovulation issue and it can coincide with being overweight or underweight; stress; PCOS; endometriosis; and ovarian failure.

In terms of weight, being just 10 – 15% over your ideal body weights can contribute to ovulation problems and is also linked to PCOS. Being underweight – less than 20% of your ideal body weight – may also cause ovulation to stop. In both cases, ovulation can be restored by returning to your ideal weight. Emotional and other stresses such as bereavement can also affect ovulation.

PCOS is a condition where eggs mature in the ovaries but are not released into the fallopian tubes – instead, they remain in the ovaries and develop into cysts. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows in other places, such as on the ovaries, which can also form cysts and interfere with ovulation. Ovarian failure results in the loss of egg supply from the ovaries, and may possibly be the result of early menopause.

To be a candidate for ovulation induction you must have a normal uterine cavity, at least one normal fallopian tube, and your partner must have a normal sperm count.

Why is ovulation induction so effective?

In short, ovulation induction therapy aims to increase the number of eggs produced in each cycle – thus increasing the chance of conception. In women who are not ovulating normally, ovulation induction aims to stimulate just a couple of eggs.

During a natural menstrual cycle, a woman’s pituitary gland releases luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). These hormones stimulate the growth of a follicle – the fluid space in the ovary where the egg grows. Although several follicles grow each month, in a natural cycle only one becomes mature enough to ovulate its egg. In a stimulated ovulation cycle, the aim is to achieve the ovulation of multiple eggs in one cycle.

When several eggs are ovulated at once, the likelihood of conception often increases dramatically.

What does ovulation induction treatment entail?

Ovulation induction treatment entails taking a course of fertility hormones to stimulate the ovaries to produce a mature follicle. These may be orally ingested medications or injectable medications. Usually, women who do not ovulate at all take gonadotropins by injection to stimulate the growth of one or more eggs.

The ovulation is timed to coincide with timed intercourse or, where necessary, Artificial Insemination (AI) or Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).

A nurse will teach you and your partner how to give the injections at home. The treatment usually starts on day three or four of your menstrual cycle and lasts approximately eight to ten days.

During your treatment, your fertility specialist will carefully monitor you with blood tests and ultrasounds. You will likely have two to four clinic appointments for blood tests and/or vaginal ultrasounds to monitor your response and adjust your medication dose.

Regular monitoring with ultrasound and hormone measurements is necessary to ensure only one or two follicles are developing. Especially women with PCOS often react very sensitively to fertility drugs, creating a risk of multiple follicle production and multiple pregnancies.

When the blood tests and ultrasounds indicate one to four mature follicles, one of our doctors will prescribe a second medication (hCG) to trigger ovulation. You will usually ovulate 36 to 48 hours after this final injection.

Approximately 24 to 36 hours after the hCG injection, you will have an artificial insemination (AI) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) during which a specially prepared sample of your partner’s sperm is inserted through the cervix and placing it near the top of your uterus where it has the best chance of fertilising an egg. The procedure takes only a few minutes and is relatively painless.

Where to get ovulation induction treatment

Our team at Medfem Fertility Clinic believes in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone.

As one of the leading fertility clinics in South Africa, Medfem Fertility Clinic has been successfully providing couples with ovulation induction treatment in a responsible and effective manner for many years. We employ safe but highly efficient stimulation protocols during ovulation induction to achieve high success rates while minimising risks of higher-order multiple pregnancies, in other words, triplets or more.

It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey, so you will have a fond memory of feeling empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem Fertility Clinic family.

If you would like to meet one of our fertility specialists at Medfem Fertility Clinic to discuss your ovulation induction treatment, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.

We look forward to meeting you!


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