SGF presented a new study last week during the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s (ASRM’s) 2018 Scientific Congress in Denver, CO, that demonstrated patients using fewer intramuscular progesterone injections during a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle resulted in equivalent live birth rates.

Why did SGF conduct this study? 

Patients who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) with a medicated frozen embryo transfer are required to take daily progesterone replacement to enable an embryo to implant and to allow the pregnancy to continue. One current standard protocol for a frozen embryo transfer is progesterone via daily intramuscular injection. While effective, these injections can be associated with increased discomfort and anxiety for patients. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether patients could achieve similar live birth rates from an FET, with few or even zero intramuscular progesterone injections.

What did the findings show? 

The study was a large randomized controlled trial that evaluated progesterone replacement for a frozen blastocyst transfer, by investigating patient-friendlier alternative to daily intramuscular progesterone.

Unfortunately, removing the progesterone injections altogether and administering only vaginal progesterone resulted in much lower birth rates and higher pregnancy loss rates,” says Dr. Kate Devine, Director of Research at Shady Grove Fertility and first author on this study. “The great news is that patients in the study who were assigned to a protocol using fewer injections were just as likely to have a baby as those who were assigned to take an intramuscular injection every day.”

What does this mean for patients undergoing a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle? 

The findings showed that while vaginal progesterone alone was inadequate to sustain pregnancies resulting from a programmed FET cycle, vaginal progesterone plus an intramuscular progesterone injection once every 3 days demonstrated equivalent live birth rates to daily intramuscular progesterone injection.

“We are so excited to finally have definitive randomized controlled trial data clearly demonstrating that intramuscular progesterone injections can be reduced by two-thirds while still providing our patients optimal chances of having a baby from FET. We hope and believe this effective treatment alternative will improve our patients’ quality of life while maintaining excellent outcomes, not only at SGF, but around the world,” says Jeffrey McKeeby, M.D., SGF physician and senior author on this study.

Why Research?

We view research as a way of “giving back” to our field as it gives us tremendous insights into the best fertility practices. Our commitment to continual improvement keeps us among the forefront, innovating and refining, which ultimately provides better outcomes—not just the treatment of our patients but of those across the country.

“Research remains one of the key pillars at SGF. It is, after all, the only way we can understand how to provide better treatment, improved care, and more successful results,” says Kevin S. Richter, Ph.D., Research Scientist for Shady Grove Fertility.

To learn more about this study, or to schedule an appointment with one of our physicians, call our New Patient Center at 888-971-7755 or complete a brief online form.