Guide to Infertility Treatments: Clomid
Meds: Clomid / clomiphene
Alright, so you’ve been trying to conceive for a good while, and you hit up your OB/GYN to chat about your infertility options.
Hopefully he or she was able to give you an infertility diagnosis, but she must have determined it was time to kick it up a notch.
The first step is almost always an oral medication called Clomid.
I won’t get too technical on you – mostly because I’m not a fertility doctor, so I’d just mess it up – but this pill essentially helps boost your FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) – the hormone that grows your follicles.
The idea of starting infertility treatments at all is completely overwhelming and devastating, I know. There’s so much in the infertility world that is never talked about, that the whole thing feels completely intimidating.
The Clomid Treatment Process
But with all of that aside, Clomid is so easy, you guys.
The hardest part is waiting for your period to start so you can get the show on the road.
If you’re like me and your cycles are long and unpredictable, your doctor may prescribe you a pill called Provera, which forces your period to start.
(OK, so Clomid isn’t actually heart-shaped, but it really should be, right?!)
When should you take Clomid?
Once your period starts, you’ll take Clomid once a day for 5 days – either days 3-7 or 5-9 of your cycle.
There are lots of different opinions on why different people take it on different days.
The most common one I’ve seen is that taking Clomid on days 3-7 grows a greater quantity of follicles, while days 5-9 grows a greater quality of follicles.
So depending on your particular fertility issue, one method may work better than another. Your OB/GYN will surely have his/her reasons for choosing which days you should take it, so just ask if you’re curious.
After taking the Clomid, you’ll most likely be instructed to have intercourse every other day from days 10-20 of your cycle.
Your husband or partner is probably going to be really excited about this particular part of the process. But let me assure you that this will not be fun.
In fact, it’s the worst.
Inevitably, one of you will be sick, or super busy at work, or have a last-minute out-of-town trip pop up, and you’re going to have to make it work.
But hey, let your partner be excited for now. Assuming he had to give his own sample to get to this point in the process, he’s probably earned a little excitement.
How to Know if Clomid Worked
Even before you find out if the treatment worked in getting you pregnant, you’ll get to find out if it even had the desired effect on your body – growing and releasing an egg or two.
Somewhere between days 21-24 of your cycle, you’ll go back in to the doctor’s office for a blood draw, to test your progesterone. About seven days after you ovulate, your progesterone spikes to at least 15 ng/mL, so that’s what they’ll be looking for.
If your progesterone levels are still low, chances are you didn’t ovulate, and you’ll need to try a higher dosage of Clomid the next month.
Most OBs will let you do 3 – 6 rounds of Clomid before sending you off to a fertility specialist. In theory, if it’s working, it shouldn’t take longer than that to get you pregnant. So there’s no sense in wasting your time if it’s not going to work.
I only did two rounds of Clomid – one at 50 mg, one at 100 mg.
The first round, my day 21 progesterone level was 2.3, and the second time it was something like 0.7 – nowhere near that 15 minimum to indicate ovulation. Since it somehow made me worse, rather than better, my OB decided to cut our losses and send us off to the specialist.
At the time, I felt ripped off, but in hindsight, I’m so grateful that she didn’t waste any more of our precious time.
The good news is, Clomid works for most people. It’s such an easy fix, and I have so, so many friends who have had success with it. So if you’re at this stage, chances are this is as far as you’ll have to go!
And if Clomid has worked for you, I would love to hear your story in the comments (and be a beacon of hope to anyone who’s about to get started with this!).
What to Expect When Taking Clomid:
Cramping: Your ovaries may cramp up as the follicles grow, and as you ovulate. It’s a good thing – that’s how you know it’s working.
Mood swings: I didn’t personally experience this, but a lot of people say Clomid wreaks havoc on their emotions. So, you may want to preemptively apologize to your husband.
If this treatment doesn’t work, then it’s time to start looking into Reproductive Endocrinologists (REs) – AKA, fertility doctors.
This next step probably feels daunting, dramatic, and like something you can’t possibly need. But I promise, you will not regret seeing an RE at this point.
You’ll get such dedicated care and attention with a specialist, and you’ll know that they care just as much about getting you pregnant as you do. OB/GYNs are pros at delivering babies; REs are pros at making them.
So jump on over to the RE Consult overview, if you’re at that point!
*This should go without saying, but this is the internet and therefore it doesn’t: I am not a doctor and you need to consult your doctor about any kind of medical treatment.