BABY BOOSTER NO 2: GONADOTROPIN INJECTIONS — WHEN CLOMID DIDN’T WORK OR YOU HAVE LOW NATURAL LEVELS OF THE BABY-FRIENDLY HORMONES LH AND FSH
Two things you need to make a baby: Estrogen and the gonadotropins LH and FSH, hormones produced by the pituitary gland that are needed for egg and sperm production. Low levels are commonly seen in marathon runners with low body fat, patients with eating disorders or those under extremely stressful situations.
How it works: “Unlike Clomid, where the brain is stimulated to produce more FSH, these injections contain LH and FSH and stimulate the ovaries directly,” says Dr. Fossum. “They can also be used for men with a low sperm counts.” The goal? For women who weren’t ovulating on their own, a return to a normal cycle, and for men with low counts, a jump in their number. It can also be used to prompt the ovaries to develop multiple eggs prior to another fertility treatment, such as IVF, where eggs are harvested.
How it will affect your life: Injections every day for 8 to 10 days. During each 14-day cycle, expect to be at the doctor’s office three to five times.
Success rate: “It’s about 18 percent per month, which is right around the natural conception rate,” says Dr. Fossum.
Average local cost: $1,000 per cycle plus doctor visits
Possible side effects: Surprisingly, very few. “Women who’ve been on Clomid are especially fearful of symptoms when we tell them we’re going to put them on something stronger,” says Dr. Fossum. “But because you’re stimulating the ovaries directly and not affecting estrogen in the brain, those hot flashes and other symptoms don’t occur.”
Octo-mom risk: “There’s a 15 percent chance of multiples, with a 5 percent chance of triplets or more,” says Dr. Fossum. “Out of all fertility treatments, gonadotropins have the highest risk. We can control the dosing to some extent, but some women are very sensitive and produce numerous eggs, which can lead to multiple births.”
Where it’s available: Jefferson University Hospital Center for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, 834 Chestnut St.; Main Line Fertility, Bryn Mawr; Penn Fertility Care, 3701 Market St.; Abington Reproductive Medicine, Abington; The Crozer Reproductive Endocrinology and Fertility Center, Upland.