If you struggle with infertility, you're probably considering IVF treatment to help you conceive. Whether you're male or female, you and your partner will both need to take part in the process physically by beginning a course of gonadotropin hormone treatments. Before you get started, make sure you understand the risks and what exactly gonadotropins can do for your fertility.
What Are Gonadotropin Hormones?
Created primarily by the pituitary gland in healthy individuals, gonadotropins are an array of different hormones that, when balanced correction in the body, serve to increase fertility in both men and women by stimulating the reproductive system. In women, these hormones regulate ovulation and cause the ovaries to release more ova for fertilization during each cycle. In men, gonadotropin hormones can serve to increase sperm count.
How Can Gonadotropins Benefit Women?
Women who suffer from infertility but do not have primary ovarian failure can benefit greatly from a regimen of these hormones during in vitro fertilization. The primary acting hormone in gonadotropin treatments for infertile women is the Follicle-Stimulating Hormone, or FSH, which is responsible for most successful IVF procedures.
In the ovaries, follicles are where the oocytes, or eggs, develop. Once a month, when a follicle has reached maturity, it has a chance to release the egg inside it from the ovary to be fertilized and hopefully develop into an embryo. Rarely, two or more follicles will mature and release their eggs simultaneously, which is how twins and triplets are born.
For women undergoing IVF treatments, multiple eggs are needed to ensure that the resulting fertilized embryos have a chance for at least one to survive and grow into a child. FSH accomplishes this by stimulating many follicles to mature every cycle, increasing the number of eggs released by the ovaries every month. Without FSH treatments, it could take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical costs before a viable embryo is produced.
What Can A Gonadotropin Regimen Do For Men?
In men, a low sperm count can cause infertility and seriously hamper the IVF process. For this reason, men are often administered gonadotropin hormones to boost sperm counts and increase the chance of egg fertilization in the lab. While multiple hormones are necessary for both men and women to strike the right reproductive balance, it is again FSH that plays the key role in increasing fertility.
In men with low sperm counts, the problem may be traced back to a reduced production of sperm in the testes. FSH binds to 'nurse' cells in the testes and stimulates them to quickly develop more and more sperm cells, which increases the overall count. FSH also stimulates sperm cells to undergo cell division, turning one sperm cell into two and effectively doubling their numbers overall.
Who Should Not Take Gonadotropin Hormones?
Unfortunately, other medical conditions can make it risky to take compounds containing FSH. If you hope to take gonadotropin medication, you should first tell your doctor if you have or previously had any of the following conditions:
- enlarged ovaries
- primary ovary failure
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- untreated thyroid problems
- cancer in any reproductive organ
- ovarian cysts not caused by polycystic ovary syndrome
If you're male and interested in using gonadotropins to raise your sperm count, you should consult with your doctor first. Be sure to tell your doctor if you have a personal or family history of the following illnesses:
- blood clots
- heart disease
- lung problems
While males and females with these conditions may sometimes still be able to take gonadotropins to increase fertility, they should do so under the careful supervision of medical professionals.
For an otherwise healthy person fighting infertility, gonadotropins can be the difference between a successful IVF procedure and a failed one. Talk to your doctor about which IVF medication for sale is best for you, and you could be taking home your very own bundle of joy -- or two!