All About Progesterone

All About Progesterone All About Progesterone

An infertility diagnosis can be as upsetting as being diagnosed with a terminal illness. Fertility treatments, drugs, and doctors can make you feel completely overwhelmed at times. Our friends at the American Fertility Association help to make this journey easier by offering education and support on a variety of fertility-related topics. Here, they offer information about a common fertility drug, progesterone.

If your doctor recommends progesterone, know that progesterone and pregnancy go together. Progesterone (pro-for; gest-pregnancy) is a hormone produced by the corpus luteum following ovulation. This important pregnancy hormone plays a key role in embryo implantation. It also helps to maintain a pregnancy.

During the menstrual cycle, progesterone helps prepare the uterine lining (endometrium) for implantation. Implantation is when the embryo or fertilized egg attaches itself to the endometrium. 

Why do women take progesterone?
Many women that undergo infertility treatment take progesterone. This supplement may help to relax the uterus’ smooth muscle to prevent contractions. Progesterone may also help your body accept a pregnancy by suppressing the immune response. As mentioned above, progesterone is necessary for successful embryo implantation.

Progesterone and IVF
Women usually need to take progesterone when undergoing fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Drugs given during IVF and the egg retrieval process can decrease progesterone-producing cells. As a result, it is often necessary to take progesterone supplements.

During egg retrieval, progesterone is often given after the eggs are moved. Along with other drugs given with IVF, women need more progesterone supplementation once the egg retrieval is over.

When will I take progesterone?
IVF programs vary as to when they start you on progesterone. Some IVF centers prescribe progesterone as soon as one day after egg retrieval. Other IVF programs wait until after the embryo transfer.

Also, the length of time progesterone is given varies, depending on your doctor and your IVF program. Your doctor may recommend that you take progesterone for up to 8 to 10 weeks of pregnancy. Or, your doctor may stop progesterone once he or she detects a heartbeat in the uterus. This usually occurs at around 6 to 7 weeks.  Some studies show that by the time of the first pregnancy test, progesterone can be safely stopped.

Which type of progesterone is best?
Progesterone supports both implantation and early pregnancy and is a key part of fertility treatment. Talk openly with your fertility specialist to get more information on progesterone and to find the delivery system that works for you.
Learn more about how to take progesterone supplements. 

Find a local fertility specialist

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