The most common treatment for luteal phase defects is to give the woman extra progesterone.
Progesterone supplementation can effectively prevent the loss of a pregnancy when given to women with a luteal phase defect. Usually, progesterone supplementation is begun three days following ovulation. It is therefore important to accurately document the day of ovulation, as starting progesterone too soon may increase the risk of a tubal pregnancy.
It is common for women to use a urinary ovulation predictor kits to determine the day of ovulation. As the LH surge typically precedes ovulation by 18-30 hours, progesterone supplementation is begun four days after the initial detection of the LH surge.
Types of progesterone supplementation for the treatment of luteal phase defects
Supplemental progesterone is given to all women undergoing in vitro fertilization. In the past, intramuscular progesterone was utilized exclusively for IVF supplementation. Recent data, including one of the largest studies on this topic – performed at TFC – suggest that other methods of progesterone supplementation, such as a vaginal gel, are just as effective, if not more so.
Oral progesterone is not as effective because of its short half life, and also because it may be broken down by stomach acid. When a medication has a short half life, it needs to be given more frequently to maintain adequate levels in the circulation.
Luteal phase defect is a significant cause of recurrent miscarriage – and possible infertility as well – that, once diagnosed, is easily treatable.