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  1. Sustains the corpus luteum and thereby maintains the hormonal support to the pregnancy in early weeks.
  2. Stimulates the Leydig cells of the male fetus to produce testosterone and thereby induces development of the male external genitalia.
  3. Immunosuppressive action which helps in the maintenance of pregnancy

Increased HCG values

Decreased HCG values

  1. Pregnancy
  2. Successful therapeutic insemination & in vitro fertilization
  3. Hydatiform mole
  4. Choriocarcinoma
  5. Multifetal pregnancy
  6. Erythroblastotic fetus
  7. Down syndrome
  8. Ovarian, testicular teratoma, certain neoplasm of lung stomach & pancreas
  1. Thereatened/spontaneous abortion
  2. Ectopic pregnancy
  3. Trisomy 18

Summary of important pregnancy test



Immunological test (Urine)

Test sensitivity

Time taken


Positive on

Card Tests

30 – 50 mlU/ml

4-5 min

Colour bands are seen in the control as well as in test window – Not pregnant (card test)

On the first day of the missed period (28th day of cycle) + Pregnant (card test)

Enzyme – liked immunosorbent assay (ALISA)

1-2 mlU/ml (serum)

2-4 hours


5 days before the first missed period

Radioimmunoassay (β subunit)


3-4 hours


25th day of cycle

Immunoradiometric assay (IRMA)

0.001 mlU/ml (serum)

30 min


8 days after conception (25-26th day of cycle)


Placental Progesterone Production


  1. After 6-7 weeks of gestation, very little progesterone is produced in the ovary. Surgical removal of the corpus luteum
  2. or even bilateral oophorectomy during the 7th-10th week does not cause a decrease in the rate of excretion of urinary pregnanediol, the principal urinary metabolite of progesterone. After about 8 weeks, the placenta replaces the ovary as the source of progesterone.

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