New Shady Grove Fertility Study Shows Improved Pregnancy Rates with Treatment Protocol Change

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A leader in clinical research, Shady Grove Fertility presents key findings at American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s 71st Annual Meeting.

Among patients whose progesterone levels were elevated during their IVF cycle, those who waited to have a FET after their progesterone level had returned to normal had better success.

Shady Grove Fertility, the largest fertility center in the country, announced on October 19, 2015, a change in treatment protocol that has yielded improved pregnancy rates. The Effect of Elevated Progesterone on the Day of Trigger and Pregnancy Outcomes in GRNH Agonist Trigger Cycles was presented by Matt Connell, an NIH fellow, and co-authors from Shady Grove Fertility at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) Annual Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.

Conducted by physicians at Shady Grove Fertility, this retrospective study examined more than 4,000 assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles and revealed frozen embryo transfers (FET) of embryos derived from in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles where progesterone levels were elevated were as successful as FET of embryos derived from IVF cycles with normal progesterone levels. This is consistent with previous work done at Shady Grove Fertility that showed progesterone elevation had a significant negative effect on pregnancy rates when embryo(s) were transferred in the same cycle as the progesterone elevation. The negative impact of progesterone elevation on IVF outcomes derives from its impact on the endometrium, not on the embryo. By delaying transfer of high quality embryos until time of frozen embryo transfer, outcomes are improved.

This study found that among patients whose progesterone levels were elevated during their IVF cycle, those who waited to have a FET after their progesterone level had returned to normal had better success than patients who continued with a fresh transfer while progesterone levels were still elevated. To achieve the best chances of pregnancy during an IVF cycle with a fresh transfer, there are several elements that have to be timed exactly right. In cases where progesterone hormone levels are too high, the delicate synchronization of the embryo and the uterine lining is disturbed, suggesting that increased levels of progesterone can result in advancement of the uterine lining making it less optimally receptive for the embryo to implant. However, in an FET cycle, some of these crucial timing factors are eliminated.

“By monitoring a patient’s progesterone levels through the course of treatment, we can use this information to determine the likelihood of pregnancy in a particular cycle and make recommendations to optimize the chance of success,” said Eric A. Widra, M.D., Medical Director of Shady Grove Fertility. “Armed with data from this study, patients and physicians can feel confident that when progesterone is elevated, chances of having a baby will be improved by forgoing fresh transfer of high quality embryos in favor of transferring them in a later FET cycle. Taking a 1 to 2 month break between cycles allows the progesterone levels to return to a normal level and can increase pregnancy rates as much as 50 percent. While the delay in treatment can be viewed as a setback, this option gives patients and their embryos the best chance of success,” Widra adds.

About Shady Grove Fertility
Shady Grove Fertility is a leading fertility and IVF center of excellence offering patients individualized care, innovative financial options, and pregnancy rates among the highest of all national centers. Since 1991, more than 37,000 babies have been born to patients from all 50 states and over 35 countries around the world. Shady Grove Fertility physicians actively train residents and reproductive endocrine fellows and invest in continuous clinical research and education to advance the field of reproductive medicine through numerous academic appointments and partnerships with Georgetown Medical School, Walter Reed, and the National Institutes of Health. Today, 34 reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, Ph.D. scientists, geneticists, and more than 600 highly specialized Shady Grove Fertility staff care for patients in 18 full-service offices, and six satellite sites throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. For more information, call 1-888-761-1967 or visit

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