Sunday, September 19, 2010

Canadian Wonders If Progesterone Is Needed for Clomid & IUI Cycles: YES!


I am trying to conceive and I have had 3 rounds of Clomid (100mg) by itself with no success. I have also now done round 4 with IUI. With the IUI cycle, my doctor told me to take 100mg Progesterone 2xday, intervaginally, and 2mg of estrace 2xday. My question is this...should I have been given Progesterone with the first 3x of Clomid?

I have heard Clomid lowers the progesterone levels and mine was only 7 to start with. I have also had a history of lots of ovarian cysts which has been explained to me as one of the possible reasons I haven't conceived again...because cysts indicate being estrogen dominant.

With this in mind, I have looked up estrace and it is contraindicated in now I am confused. Why am I being prescribed a med that is contraindicated in pregnancy, when that is what I am trying to achieve, and why if I am already high in estrogen?

I am confused and wonder if I should only be taking the Progesterone....Help! A. from Canada


Hello A. from Canada,

Practically ALL medications state that they are contraindicated in pregnancy (for legal issues). In actuality, if you read all the fine print, it says to consult your doctor. Both estrogen and progesterone are required for pregnancy to occur. The estrogen is required to prime the endometrium for implantation and the progesterone both converts the endometrium for implantation and supports the pregnancy. They are both used in fertility treatments, and have been for many many years. No problems so far! So, you don't need to worry about using them.

However, I am not sure that you need the estrogen supplementation, especially in the luteal phase (after ovulation). It is usually required in the proliferative (endometrial proliferation in preparation for implantation) phase. The progesterone is required in the luteal phase (after ovulation).

I use progesterone, but not necessarily estrogen, in ALL my Clomid cycles. Clomid is an estrogen receptor blocker and so extra estrogen might be require in the first half of the cycle to make sure that a proper endometrial lining is developed, but that is not always the case. On the other hand, often Clomid with cause a lack of progesterone production, and progesterone is such a benign and easy supplement to use that I don't risk not having enough.

From what you have briefly described, I am not sure that you are in the best hands for this treatment. I know Canada limits the availability of specialists, but you might want to see a fertility specialist. I would recommend that you look up my blog, under "how I do Clomid cycles" and it will describe my recommendations for a proper Clomid induction cycle with or without insemination.

Good Luck and stay informed!

Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.

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