Hormones, Menstrual Cycle and the Artificial Control of Fertility
Human fertility is controlled by hormones. This means that knowledge of hormones can be used to decide to increase, or reduce, the chances of fertilisation and pregnancy. The oral contraceptive, 'the pill', greatly reduces the chances of mature eggs being produced.
The pill contains oestrogen, or oestrogen and progesterone. These hormones inhibit the production of FSH, which in turn stops eggs maturing in the ovaries. Some women have difficulty becoming pregnant because they don't produce enough FSH to allow their eggs to mature. 'Fertility drugs' contain FSH, which stimulates eggs to mature in the ovary. If a couple are having difficulty conceiving a child because the quantity or quality of the man's sperm is poor then in vitro fertilisation - or IVF - can be used. This is where the egg is fertilised outside the woman's body and then implanted back into her uterus. As FSH can also be used to encourage the production of several mature eggs at once, it is used as part of IVF to increase the number of eggs available for fertilisation.
Day 1 Oestrogen and progesterone levels are at their lowest level...