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Luteal support in reproduction: when, what and how?

Aboulghar, Mohamed

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: June 2009 - Volume 21 - Issue 3 - p 279–284
doi: 10.1097/GCO.0b013e32832952ab
Fertility: Edited by Aydin Arici

Purpose of review Luteal phase support (LPS) is an integral part of the IVF cycles treated by gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues. There is a worldwide controversy concerning the type of hormones used for LPS, its dose, duration, when to start and when to stop. This review will cover original as well as recent data on this topic.

Recent findings There is a consensus in the literature among IVF centers that LPS is necessary for IVF cycles. Human chorionic gonadotropin is less commonly used than progesterone for LPS because of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome risk. Several studies suggested that intramuscular progesterone is superior to vaginal progesterone for LPS; however, the majority of centers use vaginal progesterone to avoid side effects of intramuscular injection. There is no difference in pregnancy rate whether LPS is started on day of human chorionic gonadotropin, oocyte retrieval or embryo transfer. There is a strong evidence that LPS should be stopped either on the day of pregnancy test or the first ultrasound (6–7 weeks pregnancy). There is no evidence that addition of estrogen will improve pregnancy rate.

Summary Progesterone is the preferred option for LPS. It should start within 2 days from triggering ovulation and should end on day of β human chorionic gonadotropin or the day of the first ultrasound (6–7 weeks pregnancy).

Faculty of Medicine, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Correspondence to Mohamed Aboulghar, MD, The Egyptian IVF-ET Center, 3 Street 161, Hadayek El Maadi, Maadi, Cairo 11431, Egypt Tel: +20 2 37498488; fax: +20 2 33383049; e-mail:

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.