The drugs, a class known as gonadotropins, stimulate a woman’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs for fertilization. But they also carry a high risk of multiple births, as well as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, where the ovaries keep expanding, growing so fat and swollen they can twist from the sheer weight and leak fluid into the pelvis and abdomen. In rare cases, the syndrome can lead to blood clots, kidney failure, heart failure and death.
Gonadotropins are often used in combination with artificial insemination, or IUI, where sperm is inserted directly into the womb. The appeal for couples is that it costs thousands of dollars less per cycle than in vitro fertilization, which involves retrieving eggs from the woman, mixing them with sperm and transferring the resulting embryos back into the uterus. Read full article.