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J Reprod Immunol. 2002 May-Jun;55(1-2):123-30.

Impact of ovarian stimulation on corpus luteum function and embryonic implantation.

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  • 1Centre for Reproductive Medicine, Dutch-Speaking Free University of Brussels, Laarbeeklaan 101, 1090 Brussels, Belgium.


The luteal phase has been found to be defective in virtually all the stimulation protocols used in in-vitro fertilization (IVF), indicating that common mechanisms might be involved despite the use of different drugs. A normal luteal phase is characterised by a normal hormonal environment, normal progesterone secretion by the corpus luteum and adequate endometrial secretory transformation. Luteinizing hormone supports the corpus luteum and luteal luteinizing hormone (LH) levels have been found to be reduced in human menopausal gonadotrophin (HMG), gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-agonist/HMG and GnRH-antagonist/HMG protocols, probably leading to an insufficient corpus luteum function. Supraphysiological steroid serum concentrations routinely observed in stimulated cycles may adversely affect LH secretion and induce a luteal-phase defect. In turn, these high steroid serum concentrations may advance early luteal-phase endometrial development leading to embryo-endometrial asynchrony and decreased pregnancy rates in IVF cycles.

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