Is Metformin Used to Help With Conception?


Quick Answer

While not a fertility drug, Metformin is used to help certain women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) to conceive, according to About.com Fertility. Using Metformin to treat women with PCOS is considered to be off-label use.

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Full Answer

Women with PCOS have difficulty conceiving because the condition interferes with ovulation, according to Fertility Community. PCOS causes an excess production of androgens, which creates an imbalance in the hormones needed for ovulation to occur. Metformin helps this imbalance by lowering the body's insulin levels, which promotes healthy hormone levels needed for ovulation.

Metformin plays a role in helping women with PCOS conceive in several ways, according to About.com Fertility. Metformin promotes regular and consistent menstrual cycles, which encourages regular ovulation. However, some studies have shown mixed results as to the benefit gained from using metformin to assist in conceiving. This has led to some doctors recommending metformin exclusively for women who are insulin-resistant. Metformin improves the effectiveness of fertility-enhancing drugs such as clomid. Once a woman does conceive, Metformin helps decrease the likelihood of a miscarriage by continuing to promote healthy hormones through decreased insulin levels.

Metformin does have side effects and caution is advised when using it, according to About.com. The most common side effects are nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. These can be alleviated by taking the medicine with food or at certain times of the day. Kidney and liver functions should be tested at regular intervals while on Metformin.

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