About hCG / Human Chorionic Gonadotropin:
hCG, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is the hormone that is detected on home pregnancy tests in the early stages of pregnancy. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is produced from the cells that surround a growing embryo, which goes on to form the placenta. It is possible for hCG to be detected as early as one week after an egg has been fertilized.
hCG is also responsible for ensuring that the corpus luteum, a temporary endocrine gland a woman’s body produces after ovulation, will continue to produce progesterone for the first trimester of the pregnancy.
The pituitary gland produces low levels of hCG for life, and this means that non-pregnant women and men can both have a detectible level of hCG throughout their lives.
What does hCG do?
hCG levels double every day of pregnancy until around 6 weeks. hCG will still be found in the body of a pregnant person, but the levels will decrease. Once the placenta forms, it will serve as a source of progesterone production. Assistance from hCG to support ovarian function is no longer required.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a glycoprotein that is composed of 237 amino acids and has a molecular mass of 36.7 kDa, approximately 14.5 ahCG, and 22.2kDa βhCG.
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin Production
hCG is produced by the human placenta, by the syncytiotrophoblast. Like other gonadotropins, it can be extracted for the urine of a pregnant person or produced from cultures of genetically modified cells using DNA technology.
Blood or urine tests can measure hCG levels.