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Taking Fertility Drugs: Risks & Side Effects

Alison Wood |25, April 2013


Thousands of women across America are faced with the seemingly unending nightmare of infertility. This emotional roller coaster of trying and failing to conceive drive many women to try fertility drugs in order to help them bring life to their womb. Their desires are noble, but are the possible side effects worth the risk?

Side effects from fertility drugs can range from mild discomfort to serious problems, among which some may even lead to hospitalization. Two types of fertility drugs are offered today. They are given in the form of injections or pills. Unfortunately, the pill types of fertility drugs have been known to produce more side effects than the inject able forms of fertility drugs. Listed below are some risks and side effects from fertility drugs that you may or may not have known. Consider all the risks before choosing your road to fertility.

Multiple pregnancy
Happening more often than not, women who take fertility drugs are conceiving and carrying more than one baby to term. In the news and other places, we have heard about the mom with four, five and six newborns. It is hard work to raise a singleton, but back-breaking to raise three or more babies all at once! Around half of the cases of women that have conceived with the help of fertility drugs, conceive more than one baby in the womb at one given time. Women who are pregnant with multiples are also at risk for more complications during pregnancy such as premature birth, low birth weight and miscarriage.

Mood Swings
Anytime you interfere with a woman's hormones, her mood is automatically affected. Women taking fertility drugs are at a greater risk for going from happy to a very irritated state of mind within minutes. She can also become depressed during treatments and may need additional medications to help her with these issues. If you begin to develop mood swings during your fertility treatments, look into your fertility drugs first before considering other sources of the mood swings.

Weight Gain
Each woman's body responds differently to fertility treatments. However, many women have reported gaining weight while taking a fertility pill. Not as many women report weight gain with injectable treatments. Too much weight gain also has health risks of high blood pressures, cholesterol and diabetes.

Here are some popular fertility drugs that are on the market and their known side effects.


Weight gain, severe hot flashes, nausea, bloating and breast tenderness are all associated with the consumption of this well-known fertility drug. In rare cases, side-effects may include hair loss, uterine bleeding , enlargement of the ovaries or vision-problems. Some women experience no side effects at all from this drug, yet some women feel pretty low during the entire duration of this form of fertility treatment.

Gonadotropins (such as FSH)

These are given by injection and carry fewer side-effects than the popular fertility drug Clomid. However, caution should be made when considering this fertility drug as well.

Possible side effects include the following:

  • Tenderness, infection and swelling at the injection site.
  • Ovarian hyper-stimulation
  • Fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity
  • Higher risks of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy if baby is conceived through this treatment.


Oral progesterone has been known to cause drowsiness and dizziness. The bio-adhesive progesterone gel can cause vaginal irritation. Some women claim that the suppositories are downright uncomfortable. If you are able to conceive through the treatment of progesterone, this treatment has to stop immediately once the pregnancy is confirmed. The use of synthetic progesterone may lead to an increased risk of birth defects for the baby and is therefore not safe to continue use during pregnancy.

Find some friends or acquaintances that have experienced infertility and see what drugs aided them in conceiving. Do not hesitate to ask them if they had any side-effects. Hearing other people's stories make the risks and benefits of fertility drugs become more of a reality. Wisely weigh the benefits and risks before choosing a fertity treatment that is best for your body and family.

Alison Wood is a stay-at-home mom of six and freelance writer and blogger. She enjoys raising her six children and desires to share her experiences to help other mothers.

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