What is hCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin)?
hCG is a hormone which is produced by cells in the placenta by women during pregnancy. It is a hormone that supports the normal development of an egg in a woman’s ovaries, and stimulates the release of the egg during ovulation.
To use it as a medicine, hCG is either extracted from the urine of pregnant women or produced from cultures of genetically modified cells using recombinant DNA technology.
What is hCG used for?
hCG is used to stimulate ovulation and to treat infertility in women, and to increase sperm count in men.
Men who are on Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) sometimes take hCG to restore the size of their testicles to their pre-TRT level, and to increase their fertility if they are planning to have children in the near future (read about this in our fertility article here).
Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin is also used in young boys when their testicles have not dropped down into the scrotum normally, or when puberty is delayed.
Why is hCG out of stock in the UK at the moment? Has hCG been discontinued?
hCG in the UK has mostly been available from UK pharmacies as Pregnyl 1500IU from Merck Sharp & Dohme Limited (MSD).
It is a prescription only medicine, so you must have a prescription from your doctor to buy it.
However, recently Pregnyl 1500IU has been out of stock in pharmacies across the UK – so what is going on?
We spoke to our pharmacy, and they informed us that Pregnyl has been discontinued by MSD – Pregnyl is no longer available in the UK.
What are the alternatives if Pregnyl hCG is no longer available?
There are other companies who manufacture and distribute hCG under different brand names, including:
- Ovidac 5000IU – widely available in the USA
- Gonasi HP 5000 IU – Italian brand, available in some countries in Europe
- Ovitrelle 250 micrograms/0.5 ml prefilled syringe – manufactured by Merck, available in the UK
- Menopur 75IU – manufactured by Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ltd, available in the UK
Some of these options are a bit more expensive than Pregnyl, so at OptiMale we decided to look at alternative medicines that might deliver the same benefits to our male patients as hCG.
We will publish our results soon.