IVF and Progesterone Treatment
Why do I need more hormones after IVF treatment? After all, enough hormones are enough!
Taking the hormone progesterone is a necessary part of fertility treatment. It is important because it helps to prepare the uterus for the implantation and growth of the embryo.
Progesterone is produced by your ovaries during ovulation. During a natural pregnancy, progesterone is provided during the first eight weeks of pregnancy by secretions of the corpus luteum. After that, if implantation is successful, the placenta takes over and produces enough progesterone to support the further development of the pregnancy.
However, during IVF treatment, your production of progesterone hormone may be lower than normal. This happens for several reasons. First, when the follicles are aspirated with a needle during IVF, many progesterone-producing cells may also be removed during the process. On top of that, many drugs commonly used to slow down premature ovulation (like Antagon, Cetrotide and Lupron) can reduce the production of progesterone hormone.
It is clear that progesterone hormone supplementation is needed after these drugs are used, as they are in virtually all IVF protocols today.
Progesterone hormones after IVF treatment: injection or vaginally
There has been a long and deep controversy regarding the use of the vaginal approach. Two key US studies showed that it did not work as well as injections, and the painful progesterone shots became the norm in the US for about five years. Further study however, has now shown that clinical pregnancy rates after IVF are the same no matter which route is used.
Vaginal options include gels and tablets approved for usage in infertility and IVF. Crinone, Endometrin,and Prometium are some trade names. Suppositories can be made by pharmacies as well. This latter option is a big cost saver for some couples doing IVF.
Although there has been some concern on this point, it appears that there is no evidence that the use of progesterone poses risks to the fetus.