Progesterone And Fertility

Progesterone is a steroid hormone which plays a crucial role in a woman’s menstrual cycle and in preparing her uterus for pregnancy. During the ovulation process, a follicle inside the ovary nurtures an egg to maturity and then releases that egg. The egg then sets off on its journey down the fallopian tube. If the woman is trying to get pregnant, the egg will (hopefully) be fertilized by her partner’s sperm at this stage. Meanwhile, the follicle which developed the egg takes on a new role as the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum produces the hormone progesterone, which encourages the lining of the woman’s uterus to thicken and prepare to receive and nurture the fertilized egg, which is now an embryo. If the egg is not fertilized, the woman’s progesterone levels drop and she has a menstrual period. A woman who is trying to get pregnant but has low progesterone levels may find it difficult to achieve a lasting pregnancy. Therefore, progesterone supplements are a common form of fertility treatment for such women.

Progesterone And Clomid

Progesterone supplements increase a woman’s chances of maintaining her pregnancy after she has managed to conceive. However, some women with fertility problems need help not only to maintain pregnancy, but also to get pregnant in the first place. This is why progesterone is sometimes used in combination with other fertility drugs, such as clomid, which induce ovulation. The clomid is taken first, to encourage the ovaries to produce an egg, and once ovulation has occurred treatment with progesterone supplements begins, to give the egg the best possible chance of implanting in the uterine lining when it has been fertilized.

Progesterone And IUI

Progesterone supplements may be used in combination with various forms of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) such as intrauterine insemination (IUI). In this case, sperm is inserted directly into the uterus through a catheter (a very thin tube) which passes through the cervix. This gives the sperm a better chance of reaching and fertilizing an egg. Ovulation-inducing drugs may be used to stimulate egg production. Once ovulation has occurred, the sperm will be inserted, and treatment with progesterone supplements will begin, to encourage the growth of the uterine lining.

Progesterone And IVF

During IVF treatment, drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries into producing mature eggs. These eggs are then removed from the woman’s body and are fertilized using her partner’s sperm (or donor sperm) in a laboratory. Once fertilized, the embryos are inserted back into the woman’s uterus. The drugs used to kick-start the ovaries may lower a woman’s progesterone levels, which could potentially make the conditions in her uterus less favorable for the implantation and successful growth of the fertilized embryos. Therefore, progesterone supplements may also be used alongside IVF treatment.

Progesterone And Pregnancy

In addition to preparing the lining of the uterus for pregnancy, progesterone is also thought to decrease the response of a woman’s immune system. This makes her body more likely to accept a pregnancy. Progesterone levels increase throughout pregnancy and a drop in progesterone is thought by some medical experts to be the factor which triggers labor. Therefore low progesterone levels can be risky during pregnancy and progesterone supplements may be prescribed at various stages of pregnancy, not just the beginning.

Creams, Pills, Injections

Progesterone supplements come in three main forms: creams, pills and injections. Creams are usually inserted directly into the vagina using a device similar to a tampon applicator. Pills are also inserted into the vagina as suppositories. Progesterone may also be administered in the form of intra-muscular injections.

Progesterone Risks

Not all forms of progesterone are suitable as treatments for fertility or during pregnancy. Progesterone supplements chemically identical to the natural progesterone produced in the ovaries are safe. This includes creams such as Crinone and Endometrin, which have been approved as fertility treatments by the Federal Drug Administration in the United States. Synthetically-derived progesterone such as that found in birth control pills are not safe treatments for fertility or during pregnancy.

Progesterone Test

Women who are having difficulty getting pregnant or maintaining a pregnancy may be offered a progesterone test. The test measures the amount of progesterone hormone found in a blood sample from the patient. If you take a progesterone test, you will probably be told to stop taking any medication containing estrogen or progesterone up to four weeks before the test. You will need to give the doctor the date of the first day of your most recent menstrual period. In some cases, a blood sample may be taken on a daily basis for several days. The results are normally available within 24 hours.

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