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Taking progesterone is an important part of the IVF process, but many hopeful parents aren’t sure what to expect when taking progesterone. In this article, we cover everything you should know about progesterone, progesterone side effects with IVF, and more.

What Is Progesterone? 

Progesterone is a key hormone in the female reproductive system. It is produced by the corpus luteum, which is formed from the ovarian follicle after ovulation during the luteal phase. Progesterone’s primary role is to regulate the uterine lining and prepare it for implantation. If an embryo implants into the lining, the body will produce progesterone for the first eight weeks of pregnancy. After this point, the placenta takes over this role. 

Progesterone also plays a vital role in regulating other bodily functions, including body temperature, bone density, heart function, and more.

Reasons For Using Progesterone In IVF

There are several reasons why doctors may choose to use progesterone in an IVF treatment. First, this hormone helps to facilitate implantation by thickening the uterine lining and providing a more hospitable environment for embryonic development. 

All in all, progesterone plays a crucial role in preparing the body’s endocrine system for conception, helping to increase testosterone levels and promoting healthy ovulation. 

The hormone may be used during an IVF cycle as a supportive measure when ovulation fails to occur naturally. It can help stimulate the release of an egg from the ovaries in conjunction with other fertility medications. While using progesterone in IVF carries some risks, it can be an extremely effective tool for achieving optimal fertility outcomes when used wisely and carefully under medical supervision.

When To Take Progesterone For Fertility? 

Progesterone therapy should begin approximately one week into the menstrual cycle, either before or after ovulation. This timing can vary depending on several factors, including the woman’s age and medical history. 

Progesterone injections with IVF may need to be adjusted to maximize effectiveness as the treatment progresses. Close monitoring and communication with your doctor will help guide this process and ensure that your progesterone IVF treatment is effective and well-tolerated.

There are two methods for taking progesterone: intramuscular injection or vaginally with gel suppositories or vaginal tablets. We’ll take a closer look at these types of progesterone in the sections below.

Two Types Of Progesterone 

While there seems to be no difference in viable pregnancy chances with either method, it’s still important to consult your physician or fertility team to determine which method suits you. 

Progesterone Injections IVF

Progesterone injections help to stimulate the development of the uterine lining and prepare it for the implantation of an embryo. In most cases, progesterone is delivered via a daily injection administered subcutaneously or intramuscularly. Some patients opt for injectable delivery methods over suppositories since these methods can provide more consistent absorption and avoid potential interactions with other medications or supplements. 

Progesterone Injection Side Effects

Most progesterone injection side effects with IVF are mild and nothing to worry about. Some of the most common progesterone injection side effects include swelling at the injection site, soreness, or muscle tension near the site. Very mild progesterone injection pain is further very common. Heat may help ease any soreness or pain after a progesterone injection.

Progesterone Vaginal Capsules

Progesterone vaginal capsules deliver the hormone progesterone directly to the implantation site, helping to facilitate the implantation process and ensure successful outcomes. These vaginal capsules can help reduce some of the adverse effects associated with higher progesterone levels, including excessive bloating and mood swings. Because of their effectiveness and ease of use, many fertility clinics recommend vaginal progesterone capsules for women.

The capsule also dissolves internally and is an excellent alternative for those who may have an aversion to needles or allergies. 

Progesterone Suppositories Side Effects

Vaginal capsules may have fewer side effects than progesterone injections. However, some side effects may include yeast infections or vaginal itching or burning. 

Side Effects Caused By Both

The severity and length of these side effects will differ for each person. If you experience any concerning symptoms while taking a progesterone injection through IVF, consult with your doctor immediately to find an effective way to manage them.

Supplementation with progesterone can also lead to adverse reactions such as stomach cramps, headache, breast tenderness, dizziness, bloating, nausea, and mood swings. 

If you have any of the following, please seek immediate medical attention:

  • Painful urination
  • Depression
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding
  • Allergic reactions
  • Lumps in your breasts
  • Severe headache or migraine
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Slurred speech
  • Jaundice
  • Vision problems
  • Chest pain
  • Balance issues/vertigo
  • Numbness or weakness
  • Pain, swelling, redness, warmth in legs
  • Sudden cough or wheezing
  • Rapid breathing

What Happens If you Miss A Progesterone Dose? 

A missed progesterone dose during IVF can have severe implications on your chances of getting pregnant. If you miss even one dose during your course of treatment, your body may not be able to hold on to that pregnancy you’ve been working so hard for, leading to further frustration and disappointment. 

You must always take your progesterone medication at the proper dosage and on schedule as prescribed by your doctor to get the best results from your fertility treatment. With careful adherence and monitoring throughout your cycle, you can increase your chances of having a healthy baby.

If you’re wondering “when to take progesterone for fertility,” your doctor and fertility team will advise you on the correct schedule. In many cases, such as when taking progesterone vaginally, one to two capsules are taken for at least two weeks. However, this may vary depending on the type of progesterone you’re prescribed and your fertility plan.


Is an IVF injection painful?

Most people report only mild soreness or discomfort after receiving an IVF injection. You may notice some soreness or bruising at the injection site. Many patients find that pain relief can easily be managed with over-the-counter medications, like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. While each individual’s experience may differ slightly, receiving an IVF injection is not particularly painful.

Does progesterone stop a miscarriage?

While progesterone isn’t a guarantee to prevent miscarriage, the goal of supplementation is to aid in a healthy pregnancy. Always follow your doctor’s recommendations, as taking progesterone past a positive pregnancy test may help prevent a loss. 

How do you give progesterone injections to yourself?

Here are some tips to give yourself progesterone injections: 

  • Ask a family member or partner for help, especially if you have an aversion to needles. 
  • Use a heating pad and ice pack to minimize discomfort.
  • Massage the area after the injection. 
  • Switch up your injection sites. 

What happens when you stop taking progesterone after IVF?

Some doctors may advise patients to take progesterone for a few weeks after the embryo transfer to improve their chances of successful implantation. However, other doctors may suggest that progesterone be taken for a longer period of time, such as several months or more. Ultimately, the decision on how long to take progesterone is determined based on an individual’s unique circumstances and medical needs. 

Ready to start your fertility journey? The ELITE IVF team is here for you every step of the way. We are dedicated to helping your baby dreams come true. Contact us today for more information.


Speak with a fertility specialist at ELITE IVF today!