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If you choose to undergo artificial insemination, you will probably come across the term follitropin. This is a biotechnologically produced follicle-stimulating hormone which imitates the effect of the body’s own FSH.
Follicle-stimulating hormone is a sex-neutral hormone that is formed in the pituitary glands of both men and women alike. The functions of the hormone are:
• Genesis and functionality of testicles and ovaries
• Production and maturation of egg and sperm cells
In the female body, FSH plays a major role in the menstrual cycle. In the first half, a particularly high concentration of the hormone is released and thus stimulates follicle maturation in the ovaries. The maturing ovarian follicles release oestrogen. This hormone in turn inhibits the strong production of FSH. In the end only one ovarian follicle gets enough of the hormone to mature. This follicle is the one that is used in the next ovulation.
In men, follicle-stimulating hormone is responsible for sperm cell formation (spermatogenesis).
A physical lack of FSH can have several causes. These include changes in the pituitary gland or genetic information. The exact cause can be determined using blood tests, a CT scan or a simulation test, for example. This deficiency means that little to no follicle-stimulating hormone is formed and released. In women, this means that ovulation does not occur, or only occurs very infrequently. In men, an FSH deficiency has an effect on sperm quality.
A follitropin administration is used both for men and women in fertility treatments such as IVF or ICSI:
• the hormone assists or is a substitute for the natural production of FSH. It allows for better control over the development and maturation of eggs. The strong stimulation of eggs increases the likelihood that multiple eggs will mature and can be retrieved for artificial insemination.
• Sperm production can also be increased with the administration of follitropin.
Depending on your treatment plan, either one or both partners will be treated with follitropin during the therapy. The dosage and treatment duration is determined based on examinations. The hormone is administered subcutaneously, i.e. under the skin. This is done via a daily injection in the thigh or the abdominal crease, at the same time every day whenever possible. Patients often perform the treatment themselves. The growth of gametes is monitored by examinations such as ultrasound or blood samples. If enough egg and sperm cells have matured, the follitropin can be stopped.
Treatment with follitropin can also have adverse effects. The most common side effects include rashes at the injection site. Slight swellings or headaches can also occur. At our fertility clinics, we will inform you in detail about the possibilities and risks of treatment with recombinant follicle-stimulating hormone.
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