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What is FSH?

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Updated February 17, 2010

Definition:

FSH is a hormone released from the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates an egg follicle to grow each month as part of the menstrual cycle. Elevated blood levels of FSH indicate ovarian maturing, as greater amounts of the hormone are required for the ovary to recruit and stimulate an egg follicle.

Reproductive endocrinologists use a form of FSH to stimulate the ovaries to produce egg follicles for either IUI (intrauterine insemination) or IVF (in vitro fertilization). These are injectable medications, most commonly known as Gonal-f, Follistim and Bravelle.

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