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What Are Gonadotropin Injections?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 17, 2024
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Gonadotropin injections are hormone treatments a doctor may recommend for the treatment of infertility in women and low male hormones in men. A patient may perform the injections at home after receiving directions from a care provider. In other cases, the patient reports to a clinic for each injection. As with other hormone therapies, a doctor may need to supervise the patient during treatment to determine how well the patient responds and check for signs of side effects. If the side effects become severe, it may be necessary to stop the medication or change the dosing.

These hormones are produced in the lab environment for use in pharmaceutical products. In women, they act in the body like luteinizing hormone (LH), a hormone the body normally produces naturally in the pituitary gland. Women who have difficulty conceiving may try gonadotropin injections as part of a combination therapy. The hormones will stimulate the ovaries to develop follicles. Women may be able to conceive naturally with the help of the hormone.

In other patients, infertility is more complex. The woman may need in vitro fertilization to get pregnant. In this situation, the gonadotropin injections are part of the treatment to prepare for the harvest of an egg. Before the patient takes the drugs, the doctor may take blood and run a panel to check on hormone levels, and can also perform an ultrasound to check for any issues. The patient needs regular checkups to allow the doctor to identify complications and decide whether to move forward with the treatment or cancel the cycle.

Women taking gonadotropin injections may notice bloating and abdominal distress. Some women experience fatigue and depression, especially if they have been in treatment for fertility for a long time. One potentially serious risk is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, where the ovaries swell dangerously. A doctor may cancel the cycle if the patient's hormones appear to be spiking, a sign that her ovaries could overreact to the medication.

Doctors may prescribe gonadotropin injections to young boys with undescended testes as well as men who have low levels of testosterone. The medication triggers the production of more male hormones. It can also increase sperm output. The doctor can use a series of blood tests to monitor the patient's response to the medication and may adjust the dosage, if necessary. Patients who do not respond well may need additional treatment to resolve the issue.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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