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Which hormone is responsible for infertility?

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3 fertility expert(s) answered this question

Answer from: Wael Saab, MRCOG, Bsc

Gynaecologist, Deputy Clinical Director at CRGH, Associate Professor at UCL
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Quite a few hormones are linked to fertility and I’ll start with the hormones linked to female fertility, then I’ll have a brief discussion about the hormones linked to male fertility. You will discover that men and women – we share the same hormones, they do things differently. I’ll start with the ladies’ parts. The hormones that are commonly mentioned in any fertility discussions are FSH, LH, estrogen, progesterone, AMH and thyroid function tests. I will be mentioning those briefly, a couple of words about every hormone to mention their importance in fertility. FSH and LH both of these hormones are hormones that are secreted by the brain in order to stimulate the ovary. FSH stimulates the growth of the ovary and LH comes around the mid cycle to induce ovulation, so ladies who have no LH surge might be struggling with an ovulation problem. The third hormone that I mentioned to start with was estrogen and estrogen is the crucial hormone, it is the female hormone. As the FSH that is secreted by the brain is stimulating the ovary, the ovary will respond by producing in addition to the egg, the ovary will respond in producing estrogen and estrogen is very important in thickening up the lining of the womb in preparation for an embryo to implant. After ovulation happens the ovary will start producing a hormone called progesterone that is very important in the second half of the cycle after embryos implant to keep the embryo in place and to support any pregnancy if the embryo resulted in a pregnancy. Other hormones that I mentioned are the thyroid function test because any imbalance in the thyroid which is a hormone related to metabolism, might be associated with fertility and one hormone that I failed to mention as well is the prolactin which is the milk hormone which can also be associated with infertility. A hormone that is not directly related to hormonal treatment, is something called AMH which is a hormone that is related to ovarian reserve. You will discover if you go to your doctor to check your ovarian reserve or how much eggs are left in your ovaries. This is a very common hormone that is blood tested. This is when it comes to women when it comes to men, I’ll leave it to brief. FSH and LH are present in men. FSH in women causes eggs to grow, FSH in men causes sperm or spermatogenesis, so in men with a low sperm count if their FSH is very high for instance it speaks that the testicle is not producing the sperm while if a gentleman has a low sperm and the FSH is low, that subcategory of men might benefit from hormonal treatment to assist the testes to produce those hormones. Again prolactin, thyroid function tests also play a role in men. You will have the chance to discuss them with your doctor to request those tests if required based on your medical history.

Answer from: Madhavi Gudipati, MBBS MD MRCOG

Gynaecologist, Obstetrician, Consultant OB-GYN, HFEA 'Person Responsible' at Sunderland Fertility Centre
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There a few hormones we check in fertility are FSH to start with. FSH is the hormone we would check on a particular day of the period cycle generally, between day 2 to day 5 of the period cycle that will give us an idea about the ovarian reserve. The eggs’ reserve for the patient. LH is another hormone we check and usually LH surge happens just prior to the ovulation. Estradiol is the hormone which is secreted by the growing follicle and the test for ovulation is serum progesterone which is done in the mid luteal phase. If there is slight irregularity in the periods, we check for the thyroid hormones and prolactin levels. If the period pattern and other symptoms are suggestive of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, we check for androgen levels – particularly serum testosterone.

Answer from: James Nicopoullos, MD

Gynaecologist, Consultant Gynaecologist and Clinical Director of Lister Fertility
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To be honest hormones aren’t really necessarily responsible for infertility as it were but they give us an indicator of where a problem may lie. The key hormone, three key hormones really in the whole process: number one is FSH- which is follicle stimulating hormone – that’s the formula, the hormone that stimulates women’s eggs to grow every month. Classically that was the one that we measured to look at egg reserve. Although it’s not the most accurate one in the world, crucially, if the ovaries are working well, your brain doesn’t have to produce so much of the FSH to make that happen. If the ovaries aren’t working so well, the brain basically puts on but puts its foot on the gas produces more FSH to make the eggs grow, so if your FSH is high, it suggests your brain is having to work really hard to drive that but if your FSH is normal, it doesn’t mean everything’s okay because it may be that it hasn’t kind of showed itself yet. Better marker of your egg reserve is AMH which is the hormone that the follicles themselves produce, so the more eggs you’ve got left, the more follicles you have that come out to grow every month. The more AMH is churned out, the AMH is a much better stock check of your egg number. The other key hormone, that’s important clearly, is progesterone because after you ovulate, what’s left there produces progesterone, then makes the lining of the womb nice and ready for an embryo, so you need to make sure that you’ve got enough progesterone being produced to make sure that the environment is right. Those will be the ones that would be important to check.

About this question:

What hormones are crucial and what they mean to the fertility?

There are several hormones that are responsible for proper operation of ovaries, egg release and implantation. Human brain is releasing hormones in the right order and dosage. When those functions are impaired and on some step there are not optimal levels, either egg will not be released, embryo would not implant or there will be miscarriage.

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Fertility Road Magazine
The only magazine devoted to IVF and donor conception!​
15 articles & 68 pages of "All About IVF"