HCG Injections Used for Infertility
If you and your partner have been trying to conceive without success, you may already be trying other infertility treatments.
Drugs are a normal and routine part of most infertility treatments and in particular when you’re undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
These drugs are used to prepare your body for the treatment as well to increase the probability that the ovaries will release eggs that are healthy.
One of these fertility drugs is HCG, also known as the “trigger drug” because it initiates ovulation in just a few hours.
HCG injections are often given to men who are experiencing infertility issues such as a low sperm count.
Your doctor can help you decide if giving your partner HCG injections is beneficial to your infertility treatment plan.
What is HCG?
HCG is also known as “human chorionic gonadotropin.” This hormone is released in early pregnancy, first by cells and then later by the placenta.
HCG helps to maintain adequate progesterone levels in the body which are necessary for a successful and healthy pregnancy. HCG injections are used for fertility treatments because they trigger ovulation if there is at least one developed ovarian follicle that is present.
Ovulation is triggered about 12 to 48 hours after HCG has been injected. This can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant.
When used in men, HCG injections increase the sperm count, increasing a couple’s chances of conceiving naturally.
Injections are self-administered either into a muscle or into the skin so there is no need for a visit to your doctor. Before you start taking the injections at home, your doctor will be sure that you understand the process. Keep in mind that some fertility clinics may require you to come in for the injection.
HCG for Male Infertility
Men have often prescribed the same types of drugs for fertility as women. If your partner is experiencing infertility problems your doctor may put him on HCG treatment to increase testosterone levels in the body and to produce more sperm.
Injections are given about once a week for up to six months. During this time your partner’s testosterone levels will be closely monitored and the dosage of HCG may be adjusted accordingly.
It may take up to two years for normal fertility to be reached so keep your options open for other infertility treatments. Studies indicate that the success rate for men using HCG to improve fertility is lower than in women who are given HCG injections.
HCG Injections for Female Fertility
For women who have been prescribed HCG injections, timing is extremely crucial as ovulation will happen anywhere from 12 to 48 hours after an injection.
A woman’s peak time for fertility will be between these hours and therefore timed intercourse, insemination, or egg retrieval needs to be perfectly timed in order for HCG injections to be effective.
The injection is usually administered into the thigh or stomach area. After the injection, ovulation will soon be triggered. Some women will notice a bit of bleeding or minor cramping when they start to ovulate.
There is no need to be concerned about this bleeding or cramping. In most cases, more than one cycle of HCG will have to be completed before you become pregnant.
Side Effects of HCG Injections
There are few side effects from taking HCG injections. Since HCG is the same hormone that is released during pregnancy, the side effects closely mimic this.
Common side effects include bloating, minor cramping, breast tenderness, and nausea. If you’re taking more than one cycle of HCG, you may start to notice even more breast tenderness.
Your body may start to adjust to these HCG injections but talk to your doctor if your breast problems continue. Due to fluid retention, you may experience some weight gain.
Slight weight gain is perfectly normal from any hormone drugs that you may be taking.
Pregnancy after HCG Injections
Taking HCG injections for infertility problems can significantly increase your chances of getting pregnant as much as up to 50 percent depending on how many injection cycles you undergo.
Conception rate is also dependent on whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or are undergoing IVF.
When taking a pregnancy test it’s important to note that since HCG is a hormone that is present during pregnancy that it can produce a positive for pregnancy up to two full weeks after taking the injection.
Before taking a pregnancy test, make sure that you wait more than two weeks to be sure that a positive result is not the outcome of HCG remaining in your system.
HCG can trigger the release of more than one egg, leading to multiple births. Your doctor will discuss with you the risks of multiple eggs being fertilized and the possibility that you and your partner may have to do a selective reduction in order to ensure healthy pregnancy and childbirth.
When taking HCG, there is a 30 percent chance of having twins and a 5 percent chance of triplets.