HCG Trigger Shot

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that is typically produced in a pregnant woman’s placenta.  HCG also stimulates development of an egg and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation. During the process of trying to conceive, a fertility specialist will take an ultrasound picture to obtain the size of your follicles after taking fertility medications such as Clomid, Femara or Injectables.  If there are mature follicles present, you will receive an HCG trigger shot to induce ovulation.  This injection is about 5,000 to 10,000 units per syringe that is injected into a muscle such as the hip or some people say their butt. After receiving this injection, ovulation should occur with in 24-36 hours.

HCG trigger shots contain the same hormone that is also produced during pregnancy.  It is made by the placenta that nourishes the egg after fertilization. Therefore the symptoms can mimic signs of pregnancy.  This can drive a woman and her partner crazy during the two week wait (2WW) after receiving the trigger shot and intrauterine fertilization.  If one gets too far ahead of themselves and take a pregnancy test too early, you can get a false positive.  The HCG levels are too high after the injection and it would be useless to test this soon.  Our pregnancy test was confirmed via blood test by our doctor’s office.

Some side effects of HCG trigger shot include:

  • headache
  • water retention
  • fatigue
  • sore breasts
  • abdominal discomfort
  • irritability

Women who are suffering from anovulation, PCOS, and irregular periods will benefit most from HCG injections.  And the cost per ampule (vial) is about $35-$75. Our office charged $60 when she received my first trigger shot, however some insurance companies may cover the cost. HCG is very successful at inducing ovulation.  More than 90% of women taking HCG will begin to ovulate. Pregnancy rates are around 15% per cycle.  Pregnancy rates also increase with the use of IUI. In our case, I’m not sure how the sperm missed the egg. We wish we could have had a small camera in her uterus to see what happened. I know she definitely ovulated due to the pains on the right side of her abdomen for 6 hours straight. In any case, we will be starting over and repeating this procedure during her next cycle.

References

American Pregnancy Association. (2007). Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG):  ThePregnancy Hormone. Retrieved from http://www.americanpregnancy.org/duringpregnancy/hcglevels.html

Drugs.com (2010). What is HCG? Retrieved from http://www.drugs.com/hcg.html

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