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Are hMG and hCG Medications Right For You?

A Look at hMG and hCGWhen a doctor is trying to decide upon the best fertility treatment for one of his patients, he may turn to one of the fertility drugs that is out on the market. And, depending upon the hormonal makeup of his patient, he may decide to turn to human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG) and Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

That is a rather large name for a pretty complicated medication. But, there are a few name brands-- Bravelle, Humegon, Metrodin, Pergonal, and Repronex are the brand names for hMG. Brand names for hCG include Pregnyl and Profasi.

hCG is simply a synthetic combination of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). But, the basic description of hMG doesn’t sound too appealing. hMG contains FSH and LH like other fertility drugs. But, there is one major difference. This drug gets its FSH and LH from the urine from postmenopausal women.

Yes, of course it is purified and treated and sanitized and everything else. So, no worries there. But that’s where it comes from.

FSH and LH are both hormones that are necessary for ovulation. Some women do not have the right balance of these two hormones; therefore, fertility drugs like hMG and hCG can help them become ovulate and, hopefully, become pregnant.

hMG and hCG are not oral medications—they are injectables. A dosage of hMG needs to be injected each day for 12 days (or whatever is prescribed, but 12 days is the average). This is done during the early part of the cycle, when a woman is not ovulating, to help mature the follicles. Then, a dose of hCG is given to stimulate ovulation.

Because this is a combination of two fertility drugs that work together, it is necessary for a doctor to continually monitor any woman taking these drugs. The first medication, hMG, is taken to mature the egg follicles. Ultrasounds or blood tests need to be completed after each series of 12 shots of the hMG to make sure that the egg follicles have sufficiently matured before the hCG shot is given. This is because if the hCG shot is given when the egg follicles are not quite matured, the ovulation that occurs as a result of the hCG shot will not be successful.

This combination of fertility drugs does work rather well for some women. It consistently stimulates ovulation, and 60% of women become pregnant. But, unfortunately, 35% of these pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is higher than the risk of miscarriage in the regular population.

There are other side effects for women using these fertility drugs. Some women report ovarian enlargement. Other side effects include headache and abdominal pain.

There is a slight risk among women using hMG and hCG in developing Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This condition is quite rare, but patients may need to stop taking these fertility drugs.
As with other fertility drugs, there is an increased chance of having multiples when taking hMG and hCG. Since multiples pregnancies are considered high-risk for any woman, this may be an important factor when deciding to take these medications.

Now, although these two fertility drugs are injectables, that does not mean that they have to be given at the doctor’s office. Women can be taught to give themselves daily injections of these medications, much like how diabetics sometimes give themselves daily injections of insulin. Of course, as stated above, the hCG shot cannot be given until a blood test or ultrasound is performed; however, there is no need for a woman to go into the doctor’s office each day for the 12 daily shots.

hMG and hCG will not be the fertility drugs of choice for every woman. But, they have helped countless women realize their dreams of having a baby, so they are the right choice for some women experiencing infertility. A woman’s doctor will be able to advise her about her best options for infertility treatment.

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