Should You Try Serophene to Boost Fertility?
If you’ve had difficulty getting pregnant, you’ve probably heard of Serophene (or Clomid). It’s one of the most common treatments available for increasing fertility, and doctors have been prescribing it for decades. However, it’s not suitable for everyone, and there are some important facts you need to know before pursuing this option.
How does Serophene work?
Taking Serophene provides your body with chemicals that work in a similar way to estrogen–the hormone that stimulates egg development and release.
Who should use Serophene?
Serophene is most appropriate for women who do not ovulate on their own, or who only ovulate occasionally. For example, if you have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), then Serophene might be an ideal choice for you. Some doctors will also recommend trying this treatment if you have currently unexplained infertility, on the grounds that Serophene may help you. Further, the drug is sometimes used before vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI), in order to stimulate the production of eggs. However, there are also other fertility medications out there, so the decision to take Serophene should only be made after a thorough reproductive workup and in-depth conversation with your doctor.
Interestingly, Serophene can also help some men who have a low sperm count caused by a hormonal imbalance, so it’s also worth discussing if your difficulties with conception relate to your partner.
What happens during Serophene treatment?
Serophene comes in pill form, and you typically start taking it on the fifth day of your cycle (i.e. five days after the first day of your period). You then take a daily dose of the drug for five days, and it should prompt ovulation. Your doctor will likely monitor you for a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, which lets you know that you have probably released at least one mature egg. This may involve not only urine tests but also blood tests and ultrasounds. When ovulation is confirmed, you’ll know the most effective time to have sex or undergo a procedure like IUI.
What about side effects?
The majority of Serophene side effects generally don’t last long, but they can be unpleasant at the time. Many are similar to those experienced as part of premenstrual tension or during the menopause, such as hot flashes, mood swings, vaginal dryness, breast tenderness, headaches and mild nausea. In rare cases, Serophene use causes ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which leads to weight gain and bloating. Most cases go away with rest and monitoring, but OHSS can occasionally be life threatening.
Women who become pregnant on Serophene also have up to a 12% chance of conceiving twins, which can be exciting in its own right but is also associated with an increased risk of miscarriage and preterm labor, along with other complications.
Is long-term use dangerous?
There was evidence that long-term use of Serophene (i.e. for more than 6 cycles) may heighten the risk of developing ovarian cancer. However, more recent research suggests that there is not an increased ovarian cancer risk after all.
In sum, Serophene can be a great treatment if you have a condition like PCOS and need a little extra help ovulating. While–like all drugs–it comes with certain risks, you may feel these are definitely worth facing if you have struggled to conceive.