What You Should Know About Follicle Stimulating Hormone

If you are a female of child-bearing age finding it very difficult to become pregnant, you likely have questions about infertility and its causes. If you and your partner are ready to start a family, but are experiencing the frustration of infertility, you should know that often the problem has much to do with hormone activity, especially the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). The following information will help you understand the role FSH plays in fertility and what you and your partner can expect when you visit your doctor.

What Is Follicle Stimulating Hormone?

Follicle stimulating hormone controls your menstrual cycle and egg production by your ovaries. This hormone is produced by your pituitary gland. FSH amounts fluctuate but notably are at their highest when your ovary releases an egg. Interestingly enough, FSH helps control the production of sperm too, but the amount of FSH in men never wavers and remains constantly normal. 

FSH is the primary hormone that's tested to determine why you and your partner are having difficulty conceiving. It becomes an infertility problem, which means either your ovaries or your partner's testicles aren't functioning properly. Knowledgeable professionals say that your egg reserve results will indicate whether you have enough eggs stored in your ovaries to conceive. They emphasize that your husband's sperm count could also prove to be low. So if you're having difficulty conceiving, you should have your FSH levels checked on the third day into your menstrual cycle.

You will be told by your physician that FSH initiates growth of a follicle when it starts your ovulation process and that your FSH levels document how hard your body is working to activate the process. Should your results show that you have a low level of remaining eggs, experts maintain that's an indication that your body needs to work harder to lift your FSH levels. Higher ovarian reserve eggs are said to give you a better chance of conceiving.

Abnormal Levels Changes The  Infertility Science

If your test results reveal that you have abnormally high or low levels of FSH, then that means you do have a fertility problem that is contributing to difficulty conceiving. Experts point out that if estradiol, which is another hormone, shows up relatively high in testing, it could be artificially suppressing your FSH.

Normal FSH Results

Your problem becomes even more complicated if your FSH test results say that your levels are normal even though you're not conceiving. At this point, your physician might indicate that you could probably be a good candidate for ovarian stimulation.