Has your OB/GYN or fertility specialist mentioned Clomid as a potential fertility treatment option? If so, we’re not surprised. Clomid (Clomiphene Citrate) is one of the fertility treatment market’s safest, most trusted, and longest-used female fertility treatment medications.
Here are five facts worth knowing as you decide whether or not to try Clomid when trying to conceive.
The FDA approved Clomiphene citrate in 1967. In the beginning, physicians used Clomid to treat women who had irregular periods or who didn’t get their period at all. Additionally, it increases pregnancy chances for individuals or couples who aren’t getting pregnant by timing intercourse at home, those pursuing IUI, or whose partners are diagnosed with a low sperm count.
Clomid’s more gentle stimulation of the ovaries causes the release of fewer eggs than injectable medication used for egg retrieval and IVF. That means less risk of negative side effects (see below) and reduced risk of multiples pregnancies, inherently considered “high risk.”
As fertility specialists, our overarching goal is facilitating healthy full-term pregnancies, resulting in healthy babies. A single baby is ideal, twins are acceptable, and we hesitate to move forward with any fertility treatment with a likelihood of resulting in triplets or higher-order multiples. Clomid is the way to do that when we can’t control how many eggs are fertilized.
Clomid’s nearly 60-year history means we have lots and lots of data to analyze. To date, Clomid continues to be one of the most successful fertility treatments on the market. That said, while Clomid initiates ovulation in nearly 80% of all women with accurate fertility diagnoses, fertility statistics decline with age because egg quality is always a factor for any woman using her own eggs.
Of those 80% who ovulate using Clomid, only about 10% to 13% get pregnant each Clomid cycle. So if you go the Clomid route, be prepared to commit to at least three cycles. After three failed cycles, it may be time to connect with a fertility specialist. If you’re already working with a fertility specialist, your third failed Clomic cycle will spark conversations about the next step in your fertility journey.
Factors that inhibit pregnancy using Clomid include:
- Fallopian tube blockages
- Uterine abnormalities
- Fibroid tumors in non-ideal locations
- Scar tissue
- Chromosomal/genetic issues in the egg or the sperm
- Poor sperm quality
- Immuno-infertility factors
However, because Clomid is affordable (see #5), it’s often the best first step in fertility treatment to keep costs as low as possible. There’s no use spending thousands on IVF when you may be able to get pregnant using Clomid and/or IUI.
There’s hardly a woman out there that doesn’t experience side effects when using oral or injectable fertility medications. Both are designed to “hyperstimulate the ovaries,” which occurs by overriding the body’s natural reproductive hormone functions and generating more mature eggs than there would be otherwise.
Common fertility medication side effects are:
- Tender breasts and abdomen
- Hot flashes
- Interrupted sleep
- Mood swings
- Cramping or pain in the pelvic region
- Light spotting or irregular bleeding
- Mild nausea or vomiting (rare – only about 2% of patients report this one)
Your physician or fertility specialist will discuss what’s normal and what’s not so you know the difference. Either way, these symptoms are reported to a lesser degree by those who use Clomid than by those using injectable fertility medications.
Another bonus is that Clomid is a pill rather than an injection. You take it just like any other prescription medication – swallowed with a nice big chug of water. You can take it on a full or empty stomach. The most important thing is to take it at the same time(s) each day so hormone levels remain consistent with supporting ovulation. You don’t want things to dip or spike.
If you are traveling during your Clomid cycle, pack them in your carry-on or have them readily available in a purse or backpack. Make sure you never miss a dose no matter what wonky travel schedules or unforeseen delays may occur.
When it works, Clomid is one of the most affordable fertility treatments on the market. Depending on your infertility diagnosis, height, and weight – you’ll take anywhere from five to 15 Clomid tablets per cycle. Each pill costs about $5 – although many pharmacies offer “discounts” for bulk purchases.
Most patients pay about $10 per Clomid cycle if their insurance covers it and about $50 out of pocket if it’s not covered. In other words, Clomid is pretty cheap when all is said and done. If you choose to pair it with IUI, you’ll pay closer to $2,000 to $4,000 – depending on which services are recommended or required, based on your fertility history or current diagnosis.
Are you ready to get serious about accurate infertility diagnosis and treatment? Schedule a consultation with Fertility Solutions. We’ll determine whether Clomid is the right first-choice fertility treatment for you or work to uncover why it wasn’t working for you and what your next steps should be.