Clomid, the trade name for clomiphene, is commonly prescribed to women who have trouble ovulating. The clomiphene molecule is very similar to estrogen. When clomiphene enters the bloodstream and circulates to the brain, it occupies the same receptors that ordinarily respond to estrogen, but it does not stimulate brain activity the same way as estrogen. This makes Clomid an estrogen blocker. Blocking estrogen is helpful to women with PCOS who have too much estrogen during the second half of the periods, after ovulation. Sometimes the excess estrogen effectively makes the lining of the uterus too "rough" to receive the fertilized egg. If the egg cannot be implanted, there can be a spontaneous abortion long before the embryo is long enough to be seen with the naked eye. Clomid helps make the uterus more receptive to the fertilized egg, the first step in a successful pregnancy.
Sometimes male infertility benefits from Clomid. The best candidates for Clomid therapy are men who have become temporarily infertile after use of steroid medications, whether they were prescribed for an inflammatory condition of they were used in bodybuilding. In these men, Clomid is a recovery drug. The doctor may prescribe Clomid as the man is tapering down his steroid dosage so future fatherhood will be possible. In these men, Clomid can increase the volume of semen so that those sperm that are produced can more easily survive the cervical mucus and swim to the opening of the fallopian tube. Clomid also blocks the effects of injected testosterone that breaks down into estrogen, especially gynecomastia, unusual growth of the breasts in a man.
The other group of men who may benefit from Clomid are those who suffer unusually low testosterone levels due to some systemic illness such as hemochromatosis (iron overload syndrome). In these men who have some condition causing their bodies to produce so much estrogen that the gonads literally shrink, Clomid can block the effects of abnormally high levels of estrogen and allow testosterone to express itself. The effects of Clomid for raising sperm count may take several months, but some couples report Clomid success in conceiving after raising sperm counts. It is important to remember that in addition to raising sperm count, conception will only be possible if intercourse is carefully timed.