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Hormonal Studies

The Basics

The Basics

Hormone testing—also called a hormonal study—helps identify hormonal imbalances that may impair your fertility. Our clinicians perform these studies because hormones control every step in achieving pregnancy, from the recruitment and development of an egg, to the ovulation and implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Because each hormone plays a role in conception, your body must produce a specific amount at a precise time in your menstrual cycle in order for conception to occur naturally. Hormonal studies measure the levels of certain hormones produced by your body during your cycle.

How to Works

How it Works

In order for your physician to evaluate your hormone levels, we will perform a series of simple blood tests at various points in your cycle.

Before the Hormonal Study
Food does not usually affect bloodwork for hormonal studies, so it is okay to eat the day of testing. However, your physician or nurse may ask you to fast before having a prolactin blood test. Speak with your health care team if you are unsure about eating before this test.

Scheduling is important for the tests, as hormone levels change throughout your menstrual cycle and our clinicians will need to take a measurement at specific times to diagnose an imbalance. Generally, your physician will order these tests for day 2, 3, or 4 of your cycle. When planning your bloodwork with your nurse, she will tell you exactly when to complete each test.

Testing Hormones Indicate Ovarian Reserve
We will test the following hormones:

  • E2 (estrogen): stimulates the growth of the follicles and the production of fertile mucus from the cervix; also prepares the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg
  • FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone): stimulates the development of the egg
  • AMH (anti-Müllerian hormone): secreted by the small antral follicles found in the ovaries at the start of the cycle indicates the size of the ovarian reserve

Testing Hormones that Control Ovulation and Fertilized Egg Implantation
We will test the following hormones:

  • LH (luteinizing hormone): stimulates the release of the egg from the follicles (ovulation)
  • Progesterone: stabilizes the uterine lining for implantation of a fertilized egg and supports early pregnancy

Testing Additional Hormones that Can Interfere with Ovulation
We will test the following hormones:

  • Androgens: small amounts of androgens—testosterone and DHEAS (dihydroepiandrosterone sulfate)—are normally produced in women. Excess production may interfere with development of the follicles, ovulation, and cervical mucus production.
  • Prolactin: stimulates milk production; blood levels may be higher than normal with certain disorders or if you are taking certain medications
  • Thyroid: an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) can result in high prolactin levels
The Results

The Results

Some of your test results may be available the same day, while other results may take up to 1 week.

"Normal" test results vary by laboratory, so your physician or nurse will explain your results and whether or not they point to specific diagnoses or will have an effect on your planned treatment protocols.



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