HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is the pregnancy hormone that triggers a positive pregnancy test. In assisted reproductive technology (ART) settings, the hormone is used to help facilitate egg maturation and release. Researchers associated with the National Institutes of Health recently published a study in the journal Fertility and Sterility claiming the level of hCG does not predict the rates of oocyte maturation.
Researchers reviewed fertility records from a military ART program. More than 400 cycles were reviewed. While hCG detection was a good sign of oocyte maturation, the level of hCG did not affect the resulting number of mature oocytes retrieved. Researchers defined normal maturity as any retrieval resulting in excess of 75% mature oocytes.
Conclusion: Serum hCG detection is a good tool to predict oocyte maturation, but higher levels of hCG does not correlate with higher numbers of mature oocytes. Patients with higher serum hCG levels did not necessarily produce more mature oocytes.
Source: Levy G, Hill MJ, Ramirez C, Plowden T, Pilgrim J, Howard RS, Segars JH, Csokmay J. Serum human chorionic gonadotropin levels on the day before oocyte retrieval do not correlate with oocyte maturity. Fertil Steril. 2013 Jan 29. pii: S0015-0282(13)00132-5. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2012.12.053.