Dr. Edward Ramirez is the medical director of Monterey Bay IVF, a women's fertility & gynecology center located in Monterey, California. He hopes to provide those who read his infertility blog with insights into the latest advances in women's health & infertility issues. He respectfully shares his knowledge as a specialist with women and men from all over the world. Visit his center at www.montereybayivf.com
Trying To Conceive For One Year: Clomid Vs. Laparoscopy?
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Hi. I've been trying to conceive for about a year and my doctor and I are ready to take a more aggressive approach. We have generally discussed both clomid and laparoscopy as next steps in the coming months. I am wondering if you can give some advice as to the order of trying clomid first or having a laparoscopy first.
My sister and aunt both had endometriosis so I expect that could be the culprit. I personally lean towards having the laparoscopy first, but I want to understand which is usually recommended. Thank you. V. from the U.S.
Hello V. from the U.S.,
In order for you to achieve pregnancy, if you have been having trouble, you have to find the reason so that you can get the appropriate treatment. The term "fertility treatment" or "fertility drug" is a misnomer. The treatment has to treat the problem. There is nothing that makes your more "fertile" no matter what the problem.
Clomid is a fertility medication only in that it is used to treat infertility. In actuality, it is an ovulation inducing drug. That is, it gets the ovary to ovulate if the ovary is not already ovulating. Doctors use this medication in women that ovulate also to increase the number of eggs they ovulate so that there is a higher chance for one of the eggs to reach and enter the tube (because that does not happen every time).
Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is used as an infertility test. It is part of the infertility evaluation because it is the only method to assess if there are any pelvic abnormalities. This is important because the third step of the body's process to achieve pregnancy (brains sends FSH/LH to ovary > ovary grows follicle and matures an egg > ovary ovulates and egg enters pelvis > egg has to get to tube . . .) is for the ovulated egg to pass through the pelvis and get into the tube. If there is anything within the pelvis, like scar tissue or an inflammatory disease like endometriosis, then then egg may not make it to the tube (endometriosis causes inflammation that can destroy the egg).
I presume that you have had a complete infertility evaluation prior to your doctor's recommendation to use Clomid or do laparoscopy? I dislike it when general Ob/Gyn doctors jump to unnecessary conclusions such as go directly to Clomid or laparoscopy without making sure that is what is needed. Clomid is used for ovulation problems or in conjunction with IUI (if there is a sperm problem). Laparoscopy is done if all the other preliminary tests are normal, or if there is an increased chance of having endometriosis such as severe menstrual cramping or pelvic pain or pain with intercourse. It is usually one of the last tests to be done. Is that where you are?
These are the things that need to be considered and if you see the right fertility specialist, it is more likely that the appropriate things will be done to help you to become pregnant. If you see the wrong person, then you might just be wasting your time.
If you give me more detailed and specific information (such as your age and what tests have been done), then I would be able to give you my recommendations on what needs to be done next.