Use of HCG as a Fertility Treatment

Scientists have recently learned that HCG may be released prior to implantation to support implantation of an embryo. One 2014 study of 210 women going for In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), reports that intrauterine injection of HCG before an embryo transfer during IVF showed a “significant increase” in the implantation and pregnancy rates for those receiving the HCG injection versus those who did not.*

HCG is used as an injectable medication prescribed for medical infertility treatment. HCG is administered during medically-assisted fertility treatments in a variety of different situations when anovulation is a problem. HCG is believed to increase the probability that more healthy eggs are released from the ovaries. HCG injections are used in controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) to induce or trigger ovulation for women with PCOS, or to assist with IUI, IVF or ICSI. HCG injections are often used when other medications have been taken to induce ovulation and failed.

HCG has also been used to treat other fertility conditions such as:

  • Maintaining progesterone production in the first few days after insemination
  • Increasing sperm count in men with low sperm count
  • Stimulating the development of the underdeveloped testicle/s in young boys

The Risks & Side-Effects From Use

HCG intramuscular injections do not come without side effects and cautions should be considered prior to use. It’s possible that the following symptoms may be experienced:

  • an allergic reaction to the drug and/or soreness or skin reaction at the injection site
  • upset stomach
  • headache and/or joint pain
  • fever
  • hesitancy to inject oneself due to needle size

It is also important to mention how emotionally intense regimented medically-assisted fertility procedures can be for some couples; from timing tests and scans, to injections and required frequent monitoring, and the possibility of conceiving multiples.

Serious Side-Effects

There’s a risk with HCG treatments of developing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS is when the ovaries rapidly swell to several times their normal size because they are producing a number of mature follicles which may cause the ovaries to leak fluid into the abdominal cavity. Most cases of OHSS are mild, but some may experience bloating, mild abdominal pain, or nausea. Severe symptoms present as sudden, severe abdominal pain, vomiting, or symptoms of dehydration. Often sexual intercourse, strenuous exercise and lifting are advised to be avoided to avoid risk of injuring swollen ovaries.

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