Fertility Testing: Hormones

Hormonal evaluation studies identify hormonal imbalances that may impair your fertility.

female-reproductive-systemHormones control every step in achieving pregnancy, from stimulating the development of an egg to ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Each hormone that plays a role in the conception must be produced in a specific amount at a precises time in your menstrual cycle. Talk about all the stars that must align in order for us to get or stay pregnant! Hormonal studies measure the levels of certain hormones produced by your body during your cycle. You are likely to have a series of simple blood tests at various points in your cycle. The tests your doctor orders may help determine your diagnosis as well as identify the best treatment options.


Hormones That Control Ovulation and Implantation of the Egg:

  • Estradiol – stimulates the growth of the follicle and the production of fertile mucus from the cervix, and prepares the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg
  • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – stimulates the development of the egg
  • Luteinizing hormone (LH) – stimulates the release of the egg from the follicle (ovulation)
  • Progesterone – stabilizes the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and supports early pregnancy

Other Hormones That Can Interfere with Ovulation:

  • Androgens – normally, small amounts of androgens (testosterone & DHEAS: dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate) are produced in women; excess production may interfere with development of the follicles, ovulation, and cervical mucus produciton
  • Prolactin – stimulates milk production; blood levels may be higher than normal in certain disorders or if you are taking certain medications
  • Thyroid – an under-active thyroid (hypothyroidism) can result in high prolactin levels

Additional Hormone Ovarian Reserve Testing:

  •  Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH)–  is a substance produced by granulosa cells in ovarian follicles. AMH blood levels are thought to reflect the size of the remaining egg supply.

Questions & Answers

Do I need to fast before I have my blood test?

Food does not usually affect your blood tests for hormonal studies, so it’s okay to eat. However, you may be told to fast before having a prolactin blood test. Be sure to speak to your nurse if you are unsure about eating before these tests.

Do these blood test have to be done on certain days of my menstrual cycle?

Yes. Your hormone levels change throughout your cycle and have to be measured at specific times to diagnosis an imbalance. Your doctor or nurse will tell you exactly when to have each test done.

 What is the normal level for each hormone?

The “normal” levels vary by laboratory, so you’ll have to discuss these values and your results with your doctor or nurse.

When will I get the results of the blood test?

Some test results are available the same day; other may take up to one week.


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