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Why do doctors prescribe progesterone supplements during IVF?

Why do doctors prescribe progesterone supplements during IVF?

18:23 9th February 2016 | Progesterone Supplements

Hormones Progesterone Menstrual Cycle Uterus Fertilised Eggs Embryo Implants Ovary Plancenta IVF Cycle Premature Ovulation Intramuscular Injection Vaginal Tablets Intravaginally Infertility Treatment Cycles Foetus Natural Progesterone Agents

Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovary. It is first detected in the middle of the menstrual cycle when an egg is released and progesterone prepares the lining of the uterus to receive a fertilised egg. If pregnancy does not take place, the progesterone levels fall and the woman has a period. If an embryo implants into the lining of the uterus, the ovary will produce progesterone for eight weeks into the pregnancy. After that time, progesterone will be produced by the placenta for the rest of the pregnancy.

During an In vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycle, medications are often used to prevent premature ovulation (the early release of an egg). These medications affect the woman’s progesterone levels and her doctor may prescribe a progesterone supplement to make up for this decrease in the ovary’s ability to produce progesterone. This enables an embryo to implant and grow inside the uterus. Scientific studies show that pregnancy rates in IVF cycles are much higher when a progesterone supplement is used.

In IVF treatment, doctors usually prescribe progesterone supplementation to start on the day that the eggs are harvested. If pregnancy is achieved, the doctor continues progesterone supplementation throughout the first trimester.Progesterone can be taken as an intramuscular injection or via the vagina in the form of suppositories, gel or vaginal tablets. There appears to be no difference in the chances of becoming pregnant or continuing a pregnancy if progesterone is given by injection or intravaginally.

Are there any risks attached to taking progesterone during infertility treatment cycles? Studies show that progesterone will pose no significant risk to mother or foetus but natural progesterone agents should only be used during early pregnancy

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