Comparison of the efficacy of subcutaneous versus vaginal progesterone using a rescue protocol in vitrified blastocyst transfer cycles

YARALI H., MÜMÜŞOĞLU S., Polat M., Erden M., Ozbek I. Y., Esteves S. C., ...More

Reproductive BioMedicine Online, vol.47, no.3, 2023 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 47 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2023.05.005
  • Journal Name: Reproductive BioMedicine Online
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, EMBASE, MEDLINE
  • Keywords: Frozen embryo transfer, Hormone replacement therapy, Luteal phase support, Ongoing pregnancy, Serum progesterone, Subcutaneous progesterone
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Research question: Does administration of subcutaneous (s.c.) progesterone support ongoing pregnancy rates (OPR) similar to vaginal progesterone using a rescue protocol in hormone replacement therapy frozen embryo transfer cycles? Design: Retrospective cohort study. Two sequential cohorts – vaginal progesterone gel (December 2019–October 2021; n=474) and s.c. progesterone (November 2021–November 2022; n=249) –were compared. Following oestrogen priming, s.c. progesterone 25 mg twice daily (b.d.) or vaginal progesterone gel 90 mg b.d. was administered. Serum progesterone was measured 1 day prior to warmed blastocyst transfer (i.e. day 5 of progesterone administration). In patients with serum progesterone concentrations <8.75 ng/ml, additional s.c. progesterone (rescue protocol; 25 mg) was provided. Results: In the vaginal progesterone gel group, 15.8% of patients had serum progesterone <8.75 ng/ml and received the rescue protocol, whereas no patients in the s.c. progesterone group received the rescue protocol. OPR, along with positive pregnancy and clinical pregnancy rates, were comparable between the s.c. progesterone group without the rescue protocol and the vaginal progesterone gel group with the rescue protocol. After the rescue protocol, the route of progesterone administration was not a significant predictor of ongoing pregnancy. The impact of different serum progesterone concentrations on reproductive outcomes was evaluated by percentile (<10th, 10–49th, 50–90th and >90th percentiles), taking the >90th percentile as the reference subgroup. In both the vaginal progesterone gel group and the s.c. progesterone group, all serum progesterone percentile subgroups had similar OPR. Conclusions: Subcutaneous progesterone 25 mg b.d. secures serum progesterone >8.75 ng/ml, whereas additional exogenous progesterone (rescue protocol) was needed in 15.8% of patients who received vaginal progesterone. The s.c. and vaginal progesterone routes, with the rescue protocol if needed, yield comparable OPR.