Progesterone is a hormone that is necessary to have a successful pregnancy. Without the right levels of progesterone, it is possible that you will have difficulties conceiving or carrying a pregnancy to term. If you are experiencing unexplained infertility, mutliple miscarriages, or if you are taking fertility drugs, a progesterone test may be helpful. Your reproductive endocrinologist can use the results of your progesterone test to help determine any underlying health problems that may be contributing to infertility.
What is Progesterone?
Progesterone is a female hormone produced by the ovaries. It plays a vital role in both ovulation and pregnancy. After an egg is released from your ovaries, the remaining follicle becomes the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum secretes estrogen which, in turn, produces progesterone. This progesterone softens your uterine lining, helping with implantation.
What is the Progesterone Test?
The progesterone test is a simple blood test that is commonly performed in most fertility clinics. A large number of women undergoing fertility treatment will receive the progesterone test, along with the FSH test, the estradiol test, and the LH test. A small blood sample is taken from a vein in your arm and then sent to a laboratory for testing.
What is the Progesterone Test Used For?
The progesterone test is used for a wide variety of different purposes. It can:
- determine if ovulation has occurred
- determine when ovulation occurred
- indicate ectopic pregnancies
- indicate likely miscarriages
Who Needs a Progesterone Test?
Most women who seek fertility treatment from a fertility clinic, will receive a progesterone test. The progesterone test is also suggested for women with:
- unexplained infertility
- women with a history of miscarriage
- women with a history of stillbirth
- women with abnormal uterine bleeding
The Results of the Progesterone Test
Depending upon where you are in your cycle, your progesterone levels will be different. Progesterone levels surge just before ovulation and, if you become pregnant, they will continue to rise. If you do not get pregnant, your progesterone levels will decline. Normal levels for Days 1 to 6 are less than 100 ng/dL. Normal levels between days 7 and 14 are 20-150 ng/dL. Normal levels for days 15-28 are 250-2,800 ng/dL. cycles.
After the Test
Your endocrinolgist will discuss your progesterone test results with you. If you have abnormally high levels, it may indicate a false pregnancy or adrenal gland dysfunction. If you have very low progesterone levels, you may be suffering from ovulation problems or miscarriage. Your health care provider will be able to discuss possible treatments, depending upon your specific test results.