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Progesterone After IVF

Posted Nov 12 2011 8:49am

My wife had IVF (in vitro fertilization) in Canada. She was prescribed Gonal-F, Repronex and Orgalutran for the stimulation phase. Two blastocysts were transferred at day 5 and yesterday our day-14 serum HCG pregnancy test was positive.

We were told by the nurses at the fertility center to stop taking the Prometrium pessaries now that the pregnancy test is positive. From reading, Progesterone seems to have many beneficial effect to the fetus, with minimal adverse effects. I think continuing progesterone supplements until the 10-12th wk is important. I am not sure why they want my wife to stop this!

Can you advise? A. from Canada

Hello A. from Canada,

Your research is correct. Most IVF programs, if not all, will continue the progesterone until at least 8 weeks. I continue until 10 weeks and some programs will continue until 12 weeks.

I see that your center had your wife on progesterone pessaries (suppositories). For those others reading this post, there are different forms of progesterone to choose from• Daily oral progesterone
• Daily intramuscular injections (IM)
• Daily vaginal pessaries. These are mounted in wax, which melts as progesterone is absorbed causing discharge. It may be necessary to wear a panty liner.
• Daily vaginal tablets
• Daily vaginal gel

There are several formulations of vaginal progesterone: Crinone 8%, Prochieve 8%, Endometrin 100mg and pharmacy formulated versions. Several very good studies have shown equal efficacy to IM injectable progesterone. However, most RE's are trained on IM Prog and so don't want to make any drastic changes. I happen to use both. If a patient cannot tolerate the IM Prog or has an allergic reaction to it, then they can switch to the vaginal version.

Bottom line: There is no harm in continuing the progesterone, but if removed prematurely, it could jeopardize the pregnancy.

Good Luck and Congratulations,

Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
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