Why is Progesterone Important for Fertility?
Progesterone is one of the most important hormones in a woman’s body and the role it plays in fertility is unquestionable. Commonly referred to as “the pregnancy hormone,” progesterone is a natural female hormone that produced by the corpus luteum to build and maintain the lining of the uterus so that the fertilized egg can implant and grow.
The Importance of Progesterone in Fertility Treatments
According to the National Infertility Association, Progesterone is critical before and during a woman’s pregnancy and its role centers mainly around the creation and maintenance of the lining in the uterus where the fertilized egg will implant itself.
Levels of Progesterone Throughout Ovulation
Progesterone levels are typically at their highest between days five and nine of a woman’s cycle; after this, hormone levels begin to drop. Day 26 should then be just before a woman’s menstrual period starts. After ovulation, the Progesterone levels begin to rise and the cycle repeats itself. The hormone’s levels rise post-ovulation making a woman more fertile during this period. You can time the level of progesterone by charting your basal body temperature or by using an ovulation prediction kit. Progesterone is at its peak when it is above 10 mg/ml.
Progesterone as a Contraceptive
Prescribed by a doctor, progesterone can be used as a contraceptive, such as progestin-only oral contraceptives and minipills. Progestins work to block fertilization by inhibiting the egg from maturing.
Treating Luteal Phase Defects with Progesterone
Luteal phase defects occur when your monthly cycle is disrupted. The luteal phase is one of many phases in a woman’s menstrual cycle. It occurs before menstruation and after ovulation. The uterus becomes thicker during this period in order to prepare for a potential pregnancy. With a defect, the lining of the uterus does not grow properly which increases the difficulty of becoming and remaining pregnant. Using progesterone cream after ovulation until your period can help increase your progesterone levels and hopefully get pregnant.
Luteal Phase Failure and Miscarriages
Experiencing more than four miscarriages during the first six to eight weeks of a pregnancy is usually the result of luteal phase failure. In this case, progesterone supplementation is required to enable implantation and to avoid rejection of the growing embryo. You should wait for ovulation to occur and then a further four to six days after possible conception, to do a pregnancy blood test. If there is a confirmation of pregnancy, then you should begin taking progesterone to help you have a healthy baby.
One of the most common causes of infertility in women is ovulatory dysfunction, which occurs when a woman is unable to release an egg. This can be successfully treated with progesterone. One particular study involved fifty women who had experienced infertility for more than one-and-a-half years. After using progesterone therapy solely, seventy percent of the women conceived within six months. Further studies have shown that without progesterone treatment, women with a luteal phase defect are at very high risk for spontaneous miscarriage.