Hum Reprod. 2021 Mar 4:deab031. doi: 10.1093/humrep/deab031. Online ahead of print.
STUDY QUESTION: Does an individualised luteal phase support (iLPS), according to serum progesterone (P4) level the day prior to euploid frozen embryo transfer (FET), improve pregnancy outcomes when started on the day previous to embryo transfer?
SUMMARY ANSWER: Patients with low serum P4 the day prior to euploid FET can benefit from the addition of daily subcutaneous P4 injections (Psc), when started the day prior to FET, and achieve similar reproductive outcomes compared to those with initial adequate P4 levels.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: The ratio between FET/IVF has spectacularly increased in the last years mainly thanks to the pursuit of an ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome free clinic and the development of preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). There is currently a big concern regarding the endometrial preparation for FET, especially in relation to serum P4 levels around the time of embryo transfer. Several studies have described impaired pregnancy outcomes in those patients with low P4 levels around the time of FET, considering 10 ng/ml as one of the most accepted reference values. To date, no prospective study has been designed to compare the reproductive outcomes between patients with adequate P4 the day previous to euploid FET and those with low, but restored P4 levels on the transfer day after iLPS through daily Psc started on the day previous to FET.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A prospective observational study was conducted at a university-affiliated fertility centre between November 2018 and January 2020 in patients undergoing PGT for aneuploidies (PGT-A) IVF cycles and a subsequent FET under hormone replacement treatment (HRT). A total of 574 cycles (453 patients) were analysed: 348 cycles (leading to 342 euploid FET) with adequate P4 on the day previous to FET, and 226 cycles (leading to 220 euploid FET) under iLPS after low P4 on the previous day to FET, but restored P4 levels on the transfer day.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: Overall we included 574 HRT FET cycles (453 patients). Standard HRT was used for endometrial preparation. P4 levels were measured the day previous to euploid FET. P4 > 10.6 ng/ml was considered as adequate and euploid FET was performed on the following day (FET Group 1). P4 < 10.6 ng/ml was considered as low, iLPS was added in the form of daily Psc injections, and a new P4 analysis was performed on the following day. FET was only performed on the same day when a restored P4 > 10.6 ng/ml was achieved (98.2% of cases) (FET Group 2).
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: Patient’s demographics and cycle parameters were comparable between both euploid FET groups (FET Group 1 and FET Group 2) in terms of age, weight, oestradiol and P4 levels and number of embryos transferred. No statistically significant differences were found in terms of clinical pregnancy rate (56.4% vs 59.1%: rate difference (RD) -2.7%, 95% CI [-11.4; 6.0]), ongoing pregnancy rate (49.4% vs 53.6%: RD -4.2%, 95% CI [-13.1; 4.7]) or live birth rate (49.1% vs 52.3%: RD -3.2%, 95% CI [-12; 5.7]). No significant differences were also found according to miscarriage rate (12.4% vs 9.2%: RD 3.2%, 95% CI [-4.3; 10.7]).
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: Only iLPS through daily Psc was evaluated. The time for Psc injection was not stated and no serum P4 determinations were performed once the pregnancy was achieved.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: Our study provides information regarding an ‘opportunity window’ for improved ongoing pregnancy rates and miscarriage rates through a daily Psc injection in cases of inadequate P4 levels the day previous to FET (P4 < 10.6 ng/ml) and restored values the day of FET (P4 > 10.6 ng/ml). Only euploid FET under HRT were considered, avoiding one of the main reasons of miscarriage and implantation failure and overcoming confounding factors such as female age, embryo quality or ovarian stimulation protocols.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S): No external funding was received. B.C. reports personal fees from MSD, Merck Serono, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, IBSA and Gedeon Richter outside the submitted work. N.P. reports grants and personal fees from MSD, Merck Serono, Ferring Pharmaceuticals, Theramex and Besins International and personal fees from IBSA and Gedeon Richter outside the submitted work. The remaining authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.
TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: NCT03740568.
PMID:33686413 | DOI:10.1093/humrep/deab031