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Identifying FSH Role In Conception

FSH Role

Identifying FSH Role in Conception

A Michigan State University study (November 24, 2015) has found that too much of a hormone (FSH) commonly used during in vitro fertility, or IVF, treatments actually decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby. James Ireland, an MSU professor in reproductive physiology and one of the co-authors of the study, has concluded that as the total dose of the hormone known as follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, went up, the live birth rate went down by as much as 15 to 20 percent. In addition, the research team found that this decline still occurred regardless of age, health, weight of the patient or length of treatment.

What is FSH?

FSH, or follicle-stimulating hormone, is a naturally occurring hormone that is made by the pituitary gland in the body. If the FSH levels or either low or high, it is a clear indicator that something is out of balance within the reproductive system and may be causing issues with the couple being able to conceive.

FSH is primarily responsible for stimulating growth of the ovarian follicle, which includes the developing egg, the cells surrounding the egg that produce the hormones needed to support a pregnancy, and the fluid around the egg. As the follicle grows, an increasing amount of the hormone estrogen is produced by the cells in the follicle and released into the bloodstream. Estrogen causes the endometrium (lining of the uterus) to thicken before ovulation occurs. The higher blood levels of estrogen will also tell the hypothalamus and pituitary gland to slow the production and release of FSH.

FSH Level:

To undergo the FSH test (it is a blood test) blood sample is taken on the 3rd day of the menstrual period. Doctors believe level higher than 10-15IU/ml may indicate diminished fertility or diminished ovarian reserve. For menstruating women, the normal FSH levels during the follicular or luteal phase should range between 5 and 20 IU/L (international units per liter.) Right before ovulation during the mid-cycle peak, FSH levels should be between 30 and 50 IU/L. If a woman is post-menopausal, her FSH levels will be naturally higher, at 50 IU/L or more.

High levels of FSH in women can cause a loss of or poor ovarian function, polycystic ovary syndrome or can indicate that menopause has set in.

Low levels of the hormone can indicate that eggs are not being produced, that the pituitary gland is not functioning correctly, that there are significant levels of stress present or that the person is severely underweight which is causing problems to occur.

Tips to Maintain a Healthy FSH Level

High FSH level is an indication of a poor ovarian reserve. FSH levels go up with age. 

To increase chances of conceiving, promote the health of your ovaries by exercising, getting a massage, detoxifying and taking care of your kidneys.


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