When to Stop Progesterone After IVF?

Taking progesterone during IVF helps prepare the uterus for embryo implantation. Find out how long you should continue with progesterone treatment and why.

By Caroline Ikiugu
Edited by Taj Schlebusch

Published October 30, 2021.

The primary function of progesterone is to prepare the lining of the uterus for pregnancy and the possible implantation of a zygote (fertilized egg cell).

Let's find out more about what happens during IVF and the role progesterone plays.

Why Is Progesterone Used During IVF Treatment?

During IVF, women are routinely given drugs to slow down premature ovulation. These drugs affect the production of progesterone in the ovaries. Additionally, many of the cells that make progesterone may be removed during the egg harvesting process, further impairing the levels of this critical hormone. Without progesterone injections during IVF, many patients would not be able to carry a pregnancy to term.

Throughout the IVF process, your progesterone levels will be continuously monitored through regular blood tests. This allows your doctor to determine if you're ready for the egg harvesting and transfer stage and whether or not to adjust your medication.

In case you're wondering how much progesterone you need before an embryo can be transferred: The levels should ideally be 10-12 ng/mL.

How Long Do You Take Progesterone Shots After IVF Transfer?

It's recommended that you start taking progesterone on the day your eggs are retrieved and continue until you get a positive pregnancy result. Once it's been confirmed that the embryo has been implanted after IVF, most doctors recommend continuing with the progesterone shots throughout the first trimester i.e. for 8-10 weeks though some recommend 10-12 weeks after becoming pregnant. If you don't test positive for pregnancy, you can stop taking the progesterone.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Progesterone Too Early?

Usually, at 7 weeks of pregnancy, the placenta takes over progesterone production, producing enough to last the entire pregnancy. However, there is a strong chance of miscarriage after stopping progesterone too early after IVF. To prevent this from happening, stopping progesterone before 8 weeks of pregnancy is not recommended.

Instead, it's recommended that you continue with your prescribed IVF progesterone dose for about 9-12 weeks to be on the safe side. By that time, the placenta should have started producing enough to sustain the pregnancy.