DHEA is commonly used for those women who are experiencing fertility problems. Many infertility clinics around the world recognize the benefit of DHEA and fertility.
With so many women waiting until their 30s and 40s to have children, there is more emphasis than ever on conceiving in the later years of life.
Before you start using DHEA for your infertility issues, it’s important that you understand what DHEA is, how it works, and if there are any side effects that you need to be concerned about.
There are several different fertility options available to you and sometimes making the right choice for you and your partner can become a little overwhelming. Is DHEA the miracle drug that so many are claiming it to be?
What is DHEA?
DHEA is a male hormone drug also known as Dehydroepiandrosterone. This hormone is often used as a safe medication for infertility as it helps to enhance ovarian function in women whose ovarian function is impaired.
Your body will convert DHEA into those sex hormones that are necessary for normal fertility and increase your odds at being able to get pregnant. When you are in your 20s, DHEA levels in the body will be at their peak, however as you age these hormone levels will start to decline.
This means that as you get older it will become harder and harder for you to become pregnant, as well as to carry your baby to full term.
Fertility specialists use DHEA to maximize hormone levels and thereby increase your chances of conceiving and having a healthy baby.
How DHEA and Fertility Work Together
DHEA is an anti-ageing supplement that works in the following ways to increase your chances of getting pregnant:
- It increases your egg count.
- It improves the quality of your eggs.
- It increases the amount of normal chromosomal embryos that are available for fertilization.
- It can potentially reduce abnormalities to chromosomes leading to birth defects.
Using DHEA, often along with other hormone medications, results in higher pregnancy rates in women over the age of 40. DHEA, as well as being able to increase your fertility function, can also improve your overall well-being and health.
- improve your mental capacity and keep your memory and mind sharp,
- improve your sexual function, and
- aid in the treatment of arthritis and some autoimmune diseases. The benefits of DHEA to your overall health can also help you manage much of the stress associated with infertility.
DHEA as Part of Your Fertility Plan
Your fertility specialist will be able to determine if DHEA is right for you and your particular infertility problems.
Taking DHEA supplements can increase your chances of conception both naturally and if you’re undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization). Your doctor will prescribe a DHEA dosage based on your age and your medical history.
Your current hormone levels will be tested to determine the best dosage to start with. You’ll then be monitored to ensure that the dosage is right for you.
Every woman will react differently to DHEA so don’t compare your results with those of other women who are also having trouble getting pregnant.
Side Effect of DHEA
While DHEA is proving to be a success when it comes to increasing fertility in older women, there are some side effects that you need to aware of so you can make an informed decision about using this hormone.
DHEA is a hormone and therefore it’s important that you don’t use too much of it for too long. Some common side effects of DHEA include weight gain, moodiness and irritability, breast tenderness, and headaches.
Dealing with infertility can be both difficult and stressful. It’s important that you discuss a variety of fertility options with your doctor before you agree to take any supplements or drugs.
If you and your doctor decide that DHEA is right for you, you’ll most likely start with a small dosage so your doctor can track any side effects.
DHEA and Increased Egg Production
You should understand that even though many fertility hormones can increase your egg count, this alone isn’t going to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
While more eggs is a good thing, it’s the quality of these eggs that will really matter. This is where DHEA is exhibiting very positive results.
Eggs produced when taking DHEA show fewer abnormalities than eggs produced when using other fertility hormones. If you’re already taking a fertility hormone, adding another one might not be a good idea.
Your doctor may discontinue other drugs and focus on DHEA for the time being until results can be tracked.
If you and your partner are going to be using IVF to achieve pregnancy, you’ll most likely start taking DHEA about 4 months before your first IVF cycle.
Your IVF team will determine the correct DHEA dosage for you and closely monitor your reaction to this hormone.