Luteal phase defect can affect the healthy development of a pregnancy
Our Las Vegas fertility doctors frequently help achieve pregnancy for women with luteal phase defects. A luteal phase defect occurs during the ovulatory cycle, which includes the follicular and luteal phases, and means that progesterone production is lower than normal during the luteal phase.
Because progesterone causes the uterine lining to thicken, an abnormally low level of progesterone can result in a thin lining. This thin lining can make it more difficult for the embryo to implant, increases the chance of recurrent miscarriage, and may cause infertility.
The ovulatory cycle consists of two phases that affect the release of an egg and implantation of an embryo
Ovulation, which is the release of an egg from an ovary, involves the follicular and luteal phases. Both phases are essential in the process of conception and pregnancy, and disruption in either can cause significant fertility challenges.
Follicular phase. During this phase, an ovarian follicle develops. This fluid-filled sac inside the ovary contains the egg and produces estradiol. This hormone causes the uterine lining to begin thickening and supports the production of cervical mucus that helps the sperm penetrate the egg.
Luteal phase. After the ovarian follicle releases the egg, the cells remaining in the follicle become known as the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum produces progesterone, which continues to thicken the uterine lining. A thick uterine lining increases the chance of an embryo successfully implanting in the uterus.
A luteal phase defect occurs if the corpus luteum doesn’t produce adequate levels of progesterone.
Because this fertility issue causes a short luteal phase, the most common symptom is short menstrual cycles. Ovulation-monitoring kits can help women determine if they have a short luteal cycle. If there are fewer than 11 days between a woman’s LH surge and the start of her period, she may have luteal phase issues during ovulation.
To diagnose this condition, our Las Vegas fertility doctors measure the progesterone level in a woman’s blood and perform a biopsy of her endometrial lining.
Hormone supplements can help women overcome luteal phase defect
If fertility tests reveal that a woman’s uterine lining is not properly thickening because of a lack of progesterone, our fertility specialists will likely prescribe progesterone supplementation. The progesterone supplement causes the uterine lining to thicken, making it easier for an embryo to implant and continue healthy development.
Women often start taking progesterone three days after ovulation, to help ensure the uterine lining has time to thicken before an embryo enters the uterus.
Contact us for more information about ovulation conditions and treatments.