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β-hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a glycoprotein that is initially secreted by trophoblast cells in the embryo shortly after it implants in the uterus. The rapid increase in serum levels of hCG following conception means it is an excellent early indicator of pregnancy. It’s also a parameter which is widely used for monitoring that a pregnancy is progressing correctly.
On a physiological level, hCG triggers the corpus luteum and thus facilitates progesterone and oestrogen synthesis. Progesterone stimulates the maturing of blood and capillary vessels that help the foetus to develop correctly.
hCG levels can be measured in blood or in urine.
Urine tests have a detection limit of 20 to 100 mUI/ml depending on the brand. If the measurement is to be taken in urine, a sample of the first urine of the day is recommended. This is particularly true during the early days of pregnancy because, if the urine is too diluted, the test can return incorrect negative results.
hCG levels in blood can be used to detect levels as low as 5 mUI/ml and the concentration levels of the hormone can therefore be calculated.
hCG levels in multiple pregnancies are 30-50 % higher than in pregnancies where there is only one foetus. However, a multiple pregnancy should be confirmed by means of an ultrasound.
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Vasectomies are the most reliable method of male contraception and an estimated 40 to 60 million men worldwide have chosen to have one. They are the most widely used contraceptive method for men looking to achieve permanent sterility for family planning or personal reasons.
The procedure should be thought of as irreversible. It has a low complications rate and failure is very infrequent. A vasectomy does not begin to work immediately and couples need to continue to use contraceptives until absolute sterility has been achieved. Vasectomies are safe and do not have any side effects or cause serious illness in the long term. It is a method that is used for avoiding pregnancy in long standing relationships but also as a personal sterility method in men who are not in a relationship (those who have separated, divorcees or widowers) but who do have sexual intercourse or, even when they are in a relationship, do not wish to have more children. […]
We consider an evaluation of the uterine cavity and a check to ensure normal structure in the tissue that lines it (the endometrium) to be a standard part of any implantation failure study. In order to carry out such a study, the most appropriate diagnosis consists of a diagnostic hysteroscopy and an endometrial biopsy.
A hysteroscopy is an endoscopy of the uterus. In other words, direct inspection of the uterine cavity using an optical system. It’s a simple test and practically pain free in most cases. Therefore, it is generally carried out during an appointment with minimal patient preparation and no impact on her daily life. […]
During the first few days of a period, a complex process takes place in the ovaries. The first step is to gather and initiate development in several follicles that contain eggs. Following this, only one egg is selected and it then develops. A mature egg is released during ovulation.
Nowadays, all couples who wish to avoid passing on genetic disorders to their children can choose to do so through a Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT), also known as Prenatal Recessive Disorder Screening.
The Instituto Bernabeu GCT is a groundbreaking analysis that uses next-generation DNA sequencing (NGS) through which we study 555 genetic mutations which cause over 600 autosomal recessive disorders in a simple blood sample.
Please see below the list of mutations analysed by the GCT we do at INSTITUTO BERNABEU:
Numerous factors are involved in making the amazing miracle of pregnancy possible. Many of them are very well understood whilst others, such as the immune system and its role in embryo implantation, given their importance, are still being studied and researched in depth. If the immune system is what protects the body against infection and diseases thanks to its defences, what role does it play in achieving pregnancy? […]
Determining the ideal day for embryo transfer has always been a controversial issue and there are, even today, still a number of doubts surrounding this issue.
Embryo culture is, basically, a selection process. Each embryo’s progress is evaluated throughout and a decision is taken on which is most likely to implant successfully. […]
It has long been known that patients who are overweight face increased reproduction and pregnancy loss issues.
Issues achieving a successful pregnancy are even greater if, as well as being obese, the patient also has illnesses such as diabetes, thyroid issues or other metabolic disorders (refer to further information on endocrinology and pregnancy).
However, little was known about the direct effect of obesity on endometrial receptivity and successful or unsuccessful embryo implantation. […]
Prolactin is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland and although it also forms part of the stress hormone circuit, it plays a vital role in breast development during pregnancy and the production of breast milk after giving birth.
Abnormally high levels of prolactin, which is referred to as hyperprolactinemia, causes disruptions in the normal menstrual cycle, anovulatory cycles, infertility and the production and spontaneous flow of breast milk in women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding a baby. […]
One of the most frequently asked questions among couples is how to calculate the most fertile days of the cycle and when ovulation will take place in order to make this coincide with sexual intercourse. Calculating it is simple in the case of regular, 28-day cycles. […]