Definition of Human chorionic gonadotropin

Human chorionic gonadotropin: (hCG) A human hormone made by chorionic cells in the fetal part of the placenta. Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is directed at the gonads and stimulates them. Hence, the name "gonadotropin."

The presence of hCG is detectable by immunologic means within days of fertilization and forms the foundation of the common pregnancy tests. The level of hCG tends to be higher with a female fetus soon after conception.

The level of hCG in maternal serum also enters as one component in the "double" and the "triple" screening tests used during pregnancy to assign risks of Down syndrome and other fetal disorders.


Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013

Stages of Pregnancy Pictures Slideshow: See the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Trimesters of Mom & Baby
Search MedTerms:


Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.