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Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone secreted by the developing placenta shortly after implantation. It is heterodimeric, with an α (alpha) subunit identical to that of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH), and β (beta) subunit that is unique to hCG. The β-subunit of hCG gonadotropin (beta-hCG) contains 145 amino acids, encoded by six highly homologous genes that are arranged in tandem and inverted pairs on chromosome 19q13.3. The vast majority of the outer amino acids are hydrophilic. hCG can be detected in the urine and serum of pregnant women as early as 6 to 15 days after conception. The concentration of hCG increases to 50 mIU/ml one week post implantation and reaches to about 100 mIU/ml at the time of the first missed menstrual period and the peak at 100,000-200,000 mIU/ml at the first trimester.

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