Fertility specialists often prescribe progesterone supplements to help improve pregnancy rates during IVF. Why is a progesterone supplementation essential for getting and staying pregnant after fertility treatment?
Why do we need progesterone?
Progesterone and IVF Treatment: What’s the connection? Progesterone supplements as part of an IVF treatment can be explained with a closer look at the chemical processes in the human body. The reason IVF patients need extra progesterone is purely chemical. After a natural ovulation, the follicle that contained your egg, turns into the corpus luteum. It releases progesterone and makes your womb ready for your fertilised embryo. This is what happens with a natural ovulation and conception, and a natural release of progesterone.
A disruption in progesterone release during IVF
The medication you take during IVF treatment helps your body produce multiple follicles. Drugs are then given to mature the eggs in the follicles and then these are collected surgically before they have a chance to be ovulated.
This is obviously a different pathway compared to a natural cycle. The cells in the follicles that would normally release the progesterone can be damaged in the surgical process – hence why additional progesterone is added into the treatment to support the implantation process, and to lower the risk of a miscarriage.
How about progesterone and IVF Treatment that involves frozen embryos?
Progesterone is also used in support of frozen embryo transfers (FETs). Progesterone is used in frozen cycles until your placenta is producing enough for it to sustain your embryo and this is generally between weeks nine and 11 of your pregnancy. Throughout your IVF journey, you can count on us for more clarification on the steps that involve progesterone supplements, as well as any other aspect of your IVF treatment that you want more information on.
How is a progesterone supplement during IVF administered? Generally, in your IVF cycle, there are 2 ways to take progesterone: orally or intramuscularly.
Vaginal progesterone, in the form of gel or pessaries, is often considered to be the most effective. The progesterone is absorbed into the uterus, bypassing the liver. Some women will choose to use the pessaries rectally to avoid the mess!