New Hope Fertility Center is more than just a fertility clinic — we are also very much focused on the science behind reproductive medicine and are always pushing to provide the most advanced scientific techniques along with good patient services. One of the more innovative techniques that we use in our assisted reproduction care is Luteal Phase Stimulation (LPS), which can help women and couples hoping to retrieve more eggs during a single IVF cycle.
This chart shows a normal cycle for an average woman. As you can see, the graph charts hormones and uterine environment over a 28-day cycle. As you move from left to right, we call the period from Day 0 to Day 14 the Follicular Phase, when follicles are being developed. Typically, one follicle will develop into maturity (become a dominant follicle), and will rupture from the ovary (ovulation), enter the fallopian tubes, and settle there where it waits to be fertilized by a sperm cell.
During a typical IVF cycle, doctors retrieve an egg right before the woman ovulates, while the mature follicle is still in the ovary. Because we want the follicle to be as mature as possible but we don’t want it to have ruptured from the ovary, the timing of an egg retrieval is very important and is one of the reasons why we monitor all our patients so closely at New Hope Fertility Center. In a normal natural cycle, this is the only egg that would be retrieved, and we must wait for the next cycle in order to retrieve another mature follicle. At this point, the woman enters into what is called the luteal phase of her menstrual cycle (Day 14 through Day 28).
However, in some cases there will be other follicles in the ovary that may not have been mature enough to rupture at the time of ovulation, but that are still quite viable. With close monitoring and, in some cases, gentle stimulation, during the days after the initial egg retrieval, our doctors are able to retrieve another mature follicle that has been developing even after the woman has entered the luteal phase.
Woman may choose to try to retrieve an extra egg using LPS if they wish to maximize the number of healthy eggs retrieved in a cycle and speed up their IVF process. Additionally, for women who wish to preserve their fertility with egg freezing or who feel that they might not have much time left on their biological clock, this is a particularly appealing technique that can help them retrieve healthy eggs sooner rather than later.