Purpose: Our purpose was to examine implantation of singleton pregnancies achieved following various assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) through the appearance and rising titers of serum human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels. Methods: A total of 114 singleton pregnancies resulting from in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination was analyzed. Patients were divided into five groups according to the type of ovarian stimulation protocol [gonadotropin stimulation with/without the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa), long protocol, or flare- up technique] and to the day of embryo transfer (day 2 or day 3 after oocyte retrieval). Serial serum hCG levels were measured between 10 and 25 days after fertilization and log-transformed. Linear regression analyses were performed and extrapolated to hCG = 10 mIU/ml (hCG10), which was used as an estimate of detectable implantation. The slopes of the regression lines were used to estimate the rising speed of hCG. Results: There were no significant differences in the days of hCG in maternal serum to reach 10 mIU/ml (implantation) or in the slopes of the regression lines for all five studied groups. Conclusions: The appearance of hCG in maternal serum was used to assess the time of clinically detectable implantation. Furthermore, because hCG production is a marker of trophoblastic activity, its serum doubling time was used as an indicator of embryo quality. Results showed that in various ART protocols with and without GnRHa, there were no significant differences in implantation time or embryo quality. Embryo development in early pregnancy follows a preprogrammed-timing schedule and depends mainly on the embryonic age of the healthy, successfully implanted conceptus.
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