The Fertility Panel provides a comprehensive look at salivary levels of the hormones which are the most relevant to reproduction, including fertility.
17β-estradiol or “estradiol” is the primary female sex hormone. It is important in the regulation of estrous and menstrual cycles in females. The importance of estradiol is also noted in other female reproductive tissues and bone. Men also produce estrogen but the levels are lower compared to women, however, there are essential functions of this hormone in men.
Progesterone is involved in many critical functions of the human and mammalian bodies. These functions include embryogenesis, menstrual cycle, and pregnancy for example. As a sex hormone and endogenous steroid it is the major progestogen which also plays an important role in brain function as a neurosteroid. Progesterone is also a key element in the production of sex hormone and corticosteroids.
Low progesterone levels in women may result in abnormal menstrual cycles and create difficulty in conception because the lack of progesterone doesn’t create the proper environment for a fertilized egg to grow. When pregnancy occurs in women with lower progesterone levels, risks are higher for miscarriage or pre-term delivery. The metabolic balance of progesterone to estrogen is also essential. When an imbalance due to low levels of progesterone occurs, sex drive can decrease, weight gain can occur, and gall bladder problems can arise.
17-OHP, or 17 α-OHP is derived from progesterone via 17 α-hydroxylase or other biochemical methods. It is a progestogen steroid similar to progesterone and a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of other steroidal hormones. These include androgen and estrogen, glucocorticoids, and mineralocorticoids. It is produced primarily in the adrenal glands and specifically in the corpus luteum of the ovaries. This test can be used as a screening or monitoring tool for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH). As a precursor to cortisol, the amount of 17-OHP is directly related to the amount of cortisol produced in the body.
Testosterone, or T is an androgen group steroid hormone found in humans and other vertebrate animals. Secreted primarily by the testicles of males and to a lesser degree the ovaries in females, the adrenal glands also secrete small amounts of T. A large amount of T in females can be indicative of polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovarian tumor or cancers, CAH (see above) or even an adrenal tumor. In order to increase number of ova produced by certain women, an administration of T can be provided by fertility clinics. Along with an OTC supplement of DHEA, it is delivered to increase the chances of pregnancy through in-vitro fertilization.
DHEA is an endogenous steroid hormone, produced by the adrenal glands, gonads, and the brain. Its predominant function is as a metabolic intermediate for the synthesis of androgen and estrogen sex steroids. It is also the most abundant steroid hormone in circulation in humans.
DHEAS is the sulfate ester of DHEA. Most DHEAS is found in the blood at levels about 300x higher than free DHEA. DHEAS also has no diurnal variation as compared to DHEA. Therefore, measurement of DHEAS is preferred as the standard measurement due to the stability of levels. DHEA is converted to this sulfate form when it is taken orally and passes through the intestines and liver.