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Hormone injections for women with problems ovulating

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Introduction

This information is for women who have fertility problems caused by problems ovulating. It tells you about hormone injections, a treatment used for these types of fertility problems. It is based on the best and most up-to-date research.

Do they work?

If you haven't been able to get pregnant because you have problems ovulating, hormone injections can help you ovulate more regularly. This treatment is likely to increase your chances of getting pregnant.

But hormone shots have more side effects than a drug called clomifene.

What are they?

The injections contain hormones that are very similar to the hormones that your body makes normally. They are for women who have problems ovulating.

You have your first injection when your monthly cycle starts. Then you have injections every day for up to 12 days. You or your partner will be taught how to give the injections. They are easy to do and are usually given in your thigh.

These are the types of hormone injections (and their brand names) you can take:

  • follitropin alfa (Gonal-F)

  • follitropin beta (Puregon)

  • lutropin (Luveris) (along with another hormone called FSH if you have hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (for more information, see Low hormone levels))

  • menotrophin (Menopur)

  • urofollitropin (Fostimon).

These injections contain different hormones. Read about the different types of hormone injections.

Your doctor may suggest that you have hormone injections if you:

If you have hormone injections, doctors will check how your eggs are growing. They use ultrasound to do this. [8]

When doctors can see that one of your eggs is ready, you may be given a different hormone injection. This injection includes a hormone called human chorionic gonadotrophin ( hCG). It encourages your ovary to release the egg (ovulate). Brand names for this drug include Pregnyl and Choragon.

How can they help?

There hasn't been any good research that shows whether having hormone injections works better than having no treatment at all. [66] But we do know that hormone injections help you ovulate. And it's likely that this will help you get pregnant.

If you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and are treated with hormone injections, you have between a 1 in 10 and 1 in 3 chance that you will get pregnant each cycle. [54] [67]

The different hormone injections seem to work equally well. [54]

How do they work?

Hormone injections contain two different hormones. Some injections contain follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Others contain both FSH and luteinising hormone (LH). One contains just LH.

These hormones are made by a part of your brain. They help you ovulate every month. If you don't make enough of these hormones or they don't work properly, you may not ovulate.

To read more about your hormones and ovulation, see What happens every month.

Last Updated: October 23, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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