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What is Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)?

If you’re trying to get pregnant, it makes sense to learn all you can about human chorionic gonadotropin—after all, it is known as the pregnancy hormone. But how exactly does it help you when you’re trying to conceive?

Human chorionic gonadotropin—simply known as hCG—is a hormone that’s produced by a woman’s placenta during pregnancy. It supports pregnancy by encouraging the production of progesterone, which prepares the lining of the uterus for implantation.

How is hCG used in fertility treatments?

Your fertility doctor may use hCG injections during a fertility treatment cycle to spur ovulation. In fact, it’s often called the “trigger shot” and is used in conjunction with other fertility drugs. The hormone causes the egg follicle to release the egg, and ovulation occurs, roughly 36 hours after the shot is administered. Like many fertility treatments, the timing of this hCG injection is critical.
What else can hCG tell you when you’re trying to conceive?

Human chorionic gonadotropin isn’t just used to induce ovulation—it’s also used to detect pregnancy. Both blood tests and at-home urine tests measure the levels of hCG in your body. At-home pregnancy tests can detect hCG in your urine 14 days after conception, while a blood test can do so in as little as 11 days.

For more information on ovulation—and to help you determine if you are ovulating regularly— check out this video by Dr. Eric Flisser, a fertility doctor at the Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York.

Click image to play.

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