Hormones in reproductive technologies to treat infertility – Higher

Fertility treatments

Some women have difficulty becoming pregnant because they don't produce enough FSH to allow their eggs to mature. Fertility drugs contain FSH and LH, which stimulate eggs to mature in the ovary.

They could also inhibit oestrogen, which usually inhibits the production of FSH. So a decrease in oestrogen in the blood will naturally increase the levels of FSH.

Fertility treatments increase a woman's chance of becoming pregnant, although the treatment may not always work. On the other hand, because the treatment boosts the production of mature eggs, it increases the chance of twins or triplets. Multiple pregnancies carry a risk of complications and may lead to premature or underweight babies.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment

  • IVF involves giving a mother FSH and LH to stimulate the maturation of several eggs.
  • The eggs are collected from the mother during a small operation and fertilised by sperm from the father in the laboratory.
  • The fertilised eggs develop into embryos.
  • At the stage when they are tiny balls of cells, one or two embryos are inserted into the mother's uterus (womb) or that of a surrogate mother.
A mother's egg injected by needle with sperm in order to be fertilised through IVF treatment.
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