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When Can You Get Pregnant, Infertility & Pregnancy Help
My name is Neville Pettersson and I am the webmaster and chief editor of this website. I’m happily married with 2 kids
This article is all about Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). I'm going to explain exactly what it is, what it does and also what FSH levels really mean in relation to fertility in both women and men. FSH is a hormone which is produced by the pituitary gland.
The basic function of FSH is to stimulate the reproductive sexual organs. The body is usually good at regulating FSH levels, however if these levels are either too high or low it can cause major problems, especially if you're trying to get pregnant. In men, FSH stimulates testicular development and sperm production. FSH levels remain constant in men from the time of puberty.
Women, on the other hand, have FSH levels which fluctuate throughout a menstrual cycle and is at it's strongest just before ovulation. This is of course the best time to have intercourse in order to get pregnant, however FSH levels can only be measured by taking a blood test, which is not immediate. Ovulation kits which you can buy from drug stores measure Luteinizing hormone (LH), which also rises before ovulation, but the results can often be mixed because LH levels rise and fall many times during a menstrual cycle giving many false positives.
Before the start of any infertility treatments, such as IVF or IUI, all couples will go through some initial testing. This includes measuring FSH levels as well as LH, estrogen and progesterone levels. FSH levels indicate a healthy functioning of the testicles and ovaries. FSH drugs are very expensive and are the actual drugs prescribed during the IVF process. The most common FSH drug is Gonal F which is taken as a daily injection to stimulate egg production in the ovaries in order to produce a bounty of eggs for in vitro fertilization.
FSH levels are very low in both men and women before puberty, usually measuring below 5 mIU/ml (milli international units per milliliter). During puberty these levels will rise to up to 10 mIU/ml, thus stimulating the development of the sexual reproductive system. Before and during puberty FSH levels in both boys and girls will be quite similar, however after puberty the FSH levels in both men and women will differ. In men FSH levels will rise to no higher than 12.5 mIU/ml and will remain at the same level continuously. In women, levels will always fluctuate up and down during each cycle anywhere between 5 -
To test FSH levels requires a standard blood test. The blood is taken in the usual manner intravenously from the arm or hand and taken back to the lab for analysis. FSH levels are often used to diagnose menopause (high FSH) and also can be an indication of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS, low FSH levels). Follicle stimulating hormone levels are also tested in men with infertility, a low sperm count and / or under-
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