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Houston Fertility Center

IVF and Fertility Drugs: The Role of Progesterone

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on September 16, 2016

A happy expectant motherThere are many reasons why patients put their trust in Houston Fertility Center. The primary reason may be our focus on the patient and making sure they understand all aspects of their treatment. We take time to answer to questions about in vitro fertilization (IVF) as well as the many other services we provide. Knowledge is a powerful and reassuring thing.

With that in mind, we have received many questions from patients about the role of fertility medications during IVF. Let's address that question in broad terms and then focus on the role of progesterone drugs for ensuring pregnancy.

Fertility Drugs and IVF: The Role They Play

During IVF treatment, fertility drugs offer doctors and specialists the ability to properly time and administer treatment to achieve optimal results. Ultimately IVF is about increasing the chances of fertility, and drugs can be used to properly regulate hormones and boost the chances of success.

What Is Progesterone?

Progesterone is a type of hormone that is essential for female reproduction and pregnancy. During ovulation, a woman's body releases progesterone in order prepare the uterine lining for an egg after it has been successfully fertilized. Low levels of progesterone may lead to issues with proper implantation of an embryo in the uterus.

Why Is Progesterone Important for IVF Treatment?

Sometimes low levels of progesterone are a factor in a patient's infertility issues. When this is the case, fertility specialists recommend the use of progesterone to help prolong the pregnancy window and ensure that a fertilized egg implants along the uterus. Again, the focus is on maximizing chances of successful pregnancy.

Who Should NOT Take Progesterone?

While progesterone is helpful for many women undergoing IVF and other fertility procedures, certain women should avoid taking the drug. This includes:

  • Women with a history of blood clots
  • Women with a history of breast cancer
  • Women with a history of liver disease

A family history of blood clots, endometriosis, kidney problems, hypertension, and depression may also be signs that you should avoid taking progesterone. These matters can be discussed as part of the consultation and treatment process.

Types of Progesterone: Ways of Taking the Drug

There are different ways that progesterone. In general, the drug can either be taken orally, injected into the buttocks, or it can be inserted into the vagina in gel, suppository, tablet, or insert form.

In general, oral pill form progesterone is often less effective than the other forms of the drug. The exact timing for administering the drug will depend on a variety of factors. The same can be said for the best type of progesterone for your situation. Thee matters can be discussed in greater detail during the consultation process.

Side Effects of Progesterone Drugs

Common side effects of progesterone drugs include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Sore breasts
  • Sensitive breasts
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Mood swings

Women who take progesterone are also more prone to viral infections.

More serious side effects of progesterone drugs include swelling of the feet and ankles, blood clots, and vomiting. Be sure to speak with your fertility doctor if you notice any of these more serious side effects.

Speak with Skilled Fertility Specialists

If you would like to learn more about the fertility treatment process and what it entails, be sure to contact our team of experienced fertility experts today. We at the Houston Fertility Center will work with you to help you start a healthy and beautiful family.

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