Fertility Speak, Learn the language
Just like a foreign language, we need to learn ‘Fertility Speak’ it is its own unique language with so many different terms that need to be learnt. At the start its going to seem overwhelming, and you may feel that it will never come together, I can remember once a term that took me 6 months to learn… I know.. For the first few months I just used the words, HPA-Axis, its a connection between adrenal glands and the pituitary, basically the stress hormone and the reproductive hormone center. So its called ‘The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal axis’ And this connection is so important when trying to have a baby. As its a monitoring system to how stresses our patients are to the extent that they are potential in the Fight or Flight mode.
And just like any language we need to learn the basics. So here we are the basics….. For conception to happen naturally requires the following. Sperm and Egg. The fertilisation and implantation of a fertilised embryo. Which to be fair is completely out of our control, well except for the way we have sperm and egg meet.. So learing about your hormones is the first of the basics you need to learn about…
So if we were to pick two of the more important and commonly used hormones in the female cycle. It would be FSH and Progesterone. When fertility clients go to your clinic these will be two tests that will be standard tests done by their GP….
FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone comes from the pituitary gland, and stimulates the ovaries at the start of the follicular phase. Now this is an interesting hormone, as the higher the number the more difficulties a client will have in getting pregnant, so we like to see this below 10, anything above 16, and IVF clinics will recommend donor egg for the client.. Its important to note that FSH is a variable number that can and will go up and down every month. Depending on who well the ovary is functioning… So the pituitary secrets the FSH until the ovary responds and communicates with the pituitary. The theory being, the more healthy the ovary, the less FSH required to stimulate it. And to be honest if your patient has an FSH of 18 + there isnt alot that can be done. Now I have helped people to get pregnant with the support of IVF. But its success rates are so low…. So be careful with this guys if you are getting high FSH result…. I’ve had patients at 35, 54 and 104…….. There was nothing I could do to help
Progesterone is the hormone that is more dominant in the Luteal phase, which is post ovulation and when an egg is released. In a standard 28 day cycle for a woman this is measured on day 21, or 7 days post ovulation which ever comes first. Progesterone results at minimum should be over 35, anything below that can be low, and may lead to issues with maintaining a pregnancy. When ovulation occurs a follicle breaks through into two, one the egg, the other the corpus luteum. This Corpus Luteum is what secrets the Progesterone, good progesterone is a good sign for a good corpus leteum, which is a good quality egg. Within the Luteal phase it needs to be over 11 days, anything under that is a luteal phase defect. This can be a reason why someone isnt getting pregnant, as fertilisation may be happening, but the embryo isnt getting a chance to implant.