Human Chorionic Gonadotropin(HCG): An Inclusive Guide

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin(HCG): An Inclusive Guide
Published : Jun 27, 2024

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone that plays a vital role in pregnancy and fertility. After implantation, the placenta produces hCG and is responsible for supporting the function of the corpus luteum, which further produces progesterone to help in the early stages of pregnancy.

What is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)?

Human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It is also known as pregnancy hormone due to its unique role in supporting a pregnancy.

It is essential to know that hCG is present in urine or blood around 10 to 11 days after conception. During the end of the first trimester, hCG levels are highest and then begin to decline for the rest of your pregnancy. To confirm a pregnancy, doctors measure hCG and then provide details on how your pregnancy progresses.

As a medicine, hCG is used for fertility treatments in women. Doctors also use it in some instances to raise testosterone levels in men and help the testes descend in males who have not reached the puberty stage.

Uses of hCG for men and women

For women

In women, hCG can replicate LH, which activates ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum. This hormone is also helpful in breaking down fat to support the nutritional needs of the fetus. As hCG is similar to the structure and function of LH, it is often used as an injection to encourage ovulation, either as a medical procedure or as part of intrauterine inseminations or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

For men

The luteinizing hormone (LH) in men is responsible for controlling the production and synthesis of testosterone and spermatogenesis. Again, here, hCG mimics the LH. The hormone is usually prescribed as an adjunct to testosterone replacement therapy. This helps men feel better until testosterone replacement kicks in and boosts their endogenous testosterone production.

What does human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) do?

Once the placenta starts making hCG, it activates your body to produce more estrogen and progesterone. Together with hCG, these hormones aid in thickening your uterine lining and indicate the body to stop menstruating. The right balance of all these three hormones maintains and promotes pregnancy.

How are hCG levels measured?

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels are generally measured through a blood test.

Qualitative hCG blood test

This test helps provide a yes or no answer as to whether hCG is present in your blood, which further indicates whether a woman is pregnant or not. A qualitative hCG blood test is like a home pregnancy urine test but is capable of detecting hCG earlier in the pregnancy.

Quantitative hCG blood test

Quantitative hCG blood test measures the particular value of hCG present in your blood. It provides detailed information about your pregnancy, like the exact gestational age of the fetus and the chances of multiple pregnancies.

This hCG blood test also monitors the progress of your pregnancy, as hCG levels must increase in the first trimester, peak around 8 to 11 weeks, and then start declining during the remaining time of pregnancy.

Summary

Thus, hCG is a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. The levels of hCG can differ among individuals and are influenced by various factors like certain medical conditions, gestational age, and multiple pregnancies. During early pregnancy, hCG levels double every 48-72 hours. Make sure to consult a doctor because a single hCG measurement cannot provide a complete status of your pregnancy.

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