Improving Fertility with Clomid

Clomid is the marketed name for the medication clomiphene or clomifene. It is a medication used to stimulate ovulation to reverse oligoovulation (light or irregular ovulation) or anovulation (absence of ovulation). It is taken as a fertility treatment by itself or in preparation for other procedures, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI). Taken in pill form, it is not normally used in conjunction with IVF, in which injectable fertility drugs are more commonly used. Clomid is one of the more inexpensive treatments as is therefore widely used. The standard dose is 50mg taken for 5 days, on days 3-7 or days 5-9 of the menstrual cycle. Dosages may be up to 150mg, but will not be higher than that.

Side Effects and Risks

Some reported side effects are blurred vision, hot flashes, nausea, and irritability. The most common risks are multiple births. There is a 10% chance of twins when taking this drug. At dosage levels at 150mg or higher, the cervical mucus is thinned, making it more difficult for the sperm to make its way to the egg. The uterine lining can also become thinner and less ideal for implantation. For these reasons, the dosage should stay around 50mg. Six cycles of Clomid are all that is typically recommended. If pregnancy is not achieved after this, alternative methods will be discussed with your physician.

Success Rates

Clomid will induce ovulation in 80% of women, and 40-45% will get pregnant within 6 cycles of use.

Clomid for Men

While only FDA-approved for women, Clomid is frequently prescribed for men dealing with infertility, in the form of low sperm count or poor sperm motility or morphology. The pituitary gland controls the production of testosterone in the testes by releasing a luteinizing hormone (LH) to stimulate the cells to make testosterone. Testosterone is converted to estrogen in women, and the estrogen tells the pituitary to stop making the LH. Clomid works in men by blocking estrogen to the pituitary. It sees less estrogen, responds by making more LH and therefore more testosterone is produced. The reported side effects in men are similar to those in women.

Clomid is commonly used by anabolic steroid users to block the effects of estrogen and increase the natural production of testosterone. For this reason, it is on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s list of illegal drugs. What does this mean? If your partner is undergoing infertility treatments and is prescribed Clomid, he will have to hang up his dreams of winning the Tour de France or an Olympic medal.

Bottom Line

While Clomid is not FDA-approved for use in men, it is still prescribed as an “off-label” drug by doctors in many cases. Keep the dosage as low as possible and keep track of side effects. Altering the hormonal balance of your body is serious and great care must be taken to prevent negative results.