In most cases, fertility problems in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) result from the absence of ovulation (anovulation), but anovulation may not be the only reason for these problems. Before beginning treatment for infertility possibly related to PCOS, be sure that your health care provider rules out other causes.1
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, can trigger body changes that facilitate conception in women with PCOS.2,3 Your health care provider may recommend that you try weight loss and other lifestyle changes before trying any medications to see if fertility returns and pregnancy occurs naturally. Research shows that lifestyle changes can help restore ovulation and improve pregnancy rates among women with PCOS.3,4 Research shows that, among obese women with PCOS who experienced menstrual dysfunction, even losing small amounts of weight improved menstrual function and fertility.5
If you have PCOS-related infertility, your health care provider may prescribe one of the following medications to help you get pregnant.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (n.d.). Frequently asked questions about infertility.Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.reproductivefacts.org/awards/index.aspx?id=3012
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.2015). Polycystic ovary syndrome. Retrieved May 20, 2016, from http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Polycystic-Ovary-Syndrome-PCOS
- Moran, L. J., Pasquali, R., Teede, H. J., Hoeger, K.M., & Norman, R. J. (2009). Treatment of obesity in polycystic ovary syndrome: A position statement of the Androgen Excess and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome Society. Fertility and Sterility, 92(6), 1966–1982.
- Legro, R. S. (2007). Pregnancy considerations in women with polycystic ovary syndrome. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 50(1), 295–304.
- ACOG Committee on Practice Bulletins--Gynecology. (2009). ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 108: Polycystic ovary syndrome. Obstetrics and gynecology, Oct; 114(4):936-49. Retrieved May 16, 2018 from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19888063
- National Cancer Institute. (2012). Oral contraceptives and cancer risk: Questions and answers. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/Risk/oral-contraceptives#3
- Goodarzi, M. O., Dumesic, D. A., Chazenbalk, G., & Azziz, R. (2011). Polycystic ovary syndrome: Etiology, pathogenesis and diagnosis. Nature Reviews Endocrinology, 7(4), 219–231. Retrieved August 26, 2016, from http://www.nature.com/nrendo/journal/v7/n4/full/nrendo.2010.217.html
- Johnson, N. (2011). Metformin is a reasonable first-line treatment option for non-obese women with infertility related to anovulatory polycystic ovary syndrome—A meta-analysis of randomised trials. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 51(2), 125–129.
- Vause, T. D., Cheung, A. P., Sierra, S., Claman, P., Graham, J., Guillemin, J. A., et al.; Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada. (2010). Ovulation induction in polycystic ovary syndrome. Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, 32(5), 495–502.
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2000). VANIQA™ (eflornithine hydrochloride) cream, 13.9%.Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2000/21145lbl.pdf (PDF - 133 KB)
- Legro, R. S., Brzyski, R. G., Diamond, M.P., Coutifaris, C., Schlaff, W. D., Casson, P., et al; NICHD Reproductive Medicine Network. (2015). Letrozole versus clomiphene for infertility in the polycystic ovary syndrome. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(2),119–129. Retrieved August 1, 2016, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4175743
- FDA. (2010). Femara (letrozole) tablets: Highlights of prescribing information. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/020726s019lbl.pdf (PDF - 456 KB)
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine.(2014). Ovarian drilling for infertility. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.reproductivefacts.org/FACTSHEET_Ovarian_Drilling_for_Infertility/
- Flyckt, R. L., & Goldberg, J. M. (2011).Laparoscopic ovarian drilling for clomiphene-resistant polycystic ovary syndrome. Seminars in Reproductive Medicine, 29(2), 138–146.
- Fernandez, H., Morin-Surruca, M., Torre, A., Faivre,E., Deffieux, X., & Gervaise, A. (2011). Ovarian drilling for surgical treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome: A comprehensive review. Reproductive Biomedicine Online, 22(6), 556–568.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2015). Assisted reproductive technologies: A guide for patients. Retrieved May 23, 2016, from http://www.reproductivefacts.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/
Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/ART.pdf (PDF - 1.7 MB)