Ovulation induction (OI) is drug treatment to induce ovulation in women with irregular or absent cycles. It can involve taking pills or giving subcutaneous injections of drugs (the way diabetics receive insulin). It nearly always involves blood tests and ultrasound scans to monitor progress, both to time intercourse and to reduce the chance of multiple pregnancy. Usually the couple has intercourse when ovulation is predicted or triggered by the ovulatory hormone (LH) injection, but artificial insemination using partner's sperm can be used, especially if the drugs affect the ability of sperm to make their way through the woman's cervix. The major risk for this treatment is multiple pregnancy.
A simple treatment used in cases where there is deficient cervical mucus, mild male-factor infertility or mild endometriosis or unexplained infertility. Cycles are tracked using blood tests and sometimes ultrasound scans. At the time of ovulation a prepared sample of sperm is placed into the uterus using a fine catheter. Sometimes modest amounts of drugs are given to increase the number of eggs maturing, ideally two or three.
This treatment uses drugs to try and increase the number of follicles (i.e. eggs) maturing to two or three and then when ovulation is about to occur, undertake intra-uterine insemination. It is indicated if the infertility is unexplained or there is just mild endometriosis. Besides administering injections to at least double the number of egg follicles that develop, the treatment has to be closely monitored by blood tests and scans. As for ovulation induction, the major risk for this treatment is multiple pregnancy.
Sperm from a carefully screened donor is inseminated close to the time of ovulation. The time of ovulation can be identified from blood tests, or urinary tests carried out at home. Traditionally DI has been used when men have no sperm or poor quality sperm, but it is also an option for single women and women in a lesbian relationship. At Fertility Associates couples (or the single woman) select which donor they want to use. All donors plan to be identifiable to the children later in life.
From August 2005 there will be a register of all donor-conceived children so that identification will be certain if the child wishes.