Prednisolone – the fertility wonder drug?

Prednisolone – the fertility wonder drug?

When it comes to fertility medication, some are more controversial than others. A steroid called Prednisolone, or Prednisone, is one of them. Some call it a fertility wonder drug. Others are more sceptical. So is it worth trying or a waste of money? Let’s look at the evidence.

Prednisolone is a form of corticosteroid sometimes prescribed to fertility patients with recurrent miscarriage, elevated natural killer (NK) cells or implantation issues. Prednisolone is basically a synthetic hormone that helps suppress immune responses.

Prednisolone isn’t just prescribed to fertility patients. As an anti-inflammatory and immuno-suppressant, it can treat a range of other conditions. These include allergies, blood disorders, respiratory problems skin problems and sperm antibodies.

But while Prednisolone is well regarded in general medicine, the jury is out on its tangible benefits to fertility patients. IVF consultant Lord Winston is distinctly wary of it. Studies have looked at Prednisolone’s alleged role in reducing miscarriage and the threat from natural killer cells. Most are small-scale.

An Australian study used low-dose Prednisolone alongside blood-thinner Clexane to try to suppress natural killer cells in women with recurrent miscarriages. The results were quite promising. But the number of participants involved was minimal, making it hard to draw firm conclusions.

Other studies abound. Research in 2016 found benefits in combining Prednisone and low-dose aspirin in IVF protocols, starting three months before ovulation induction. (We certainly see this combination regularly in repeat FETs.) A 2016 study was wary, calling immune-suppression ‘a faulty premise’. And a 2018 study saw better ongoing pregnancy rates with the use of Prednisone, aspirin, and vitamins B and D.

When prescribed to female fertility patients, Prednisolone is generally used for a short period (6 to 10 weeks). Doses vary, but 5 mg a day is common. Be wary if your clinic proposes more than 25 mg daily. Prednisolone pills are normally started on embryo transfer day or a few days earlier. But you may be told to start them when you start your stimulating medication.

Prednisolone is more often prescribed for donor-egg, donor-embryo and FET cycles. IVF protocols don’t include it so much, probably because follicle stimulation is complicated enough as it is.

If your HCG blood test is negative, your fertility medication, including Prednisolone, will be stopped. If it’s positive, you’ll probably be told to continue until you’re nine weeks pregnant. Your dosage may be tapered off in the final week.

Like any drug, there are risks involved with taking steroids. Common side effects of Prednisolone include irritability, anxiety and sleep disturbance. Taking corticosteroids in pregnancy could also affect fetal growth. The question is, are the benefits worth the risk?

Deciding whether to try a fertility drug like Prednisolone isn’t easy. It could make that crucial difference or be a dead end. Unlike intralipids, with which it is often combined, Prednisolone pills are cheap. But they are not ‘vitamins’. Prednisolone can affect your metabolism, increase the risk of diabetes and change your bone structure.

Talk to your fertility clinic about Prednisolone. It’s not for every patient. Make sure you’re fully aware of what’s involved. Until a large-scale, randomised trial is carried out, its true benefits in assisted reproduction are not clear-cut.

60 Comments
  • Ren
    Posted at 17:15h, 05 July Reply

    Hello , i just wondering this is right that doctor after IVF tell me to take 2 time a day prenisolone and how this tablets can effect my pregnacy ?

    • Scared
      Posted at 00:35h, 15 March Reply

      Hi Ren, just wondering how are you doing with your IVF? I’m waiting for my BETA result today (blood withdrawn yesterday), and for the past 14 days been taking Prednisone twice a day. IVF 5th day blastocyst FET. Thanks.

  • Ren
    Posted at 17:15h, 05 July Reply

    Hello , i just wondering this is right that doctor after IVF tell me to take 2 time a day prenisolone and how this tablets can effect my pregnacy ?

    • Scared
      Posted at 00:35h, 15 March Reply

      Hi Ren, just wondering how are you doing with your IVF? I’m waiting for my BETA result today (blood withdrawn yesterday), and for the past 14 days been taking Prednisone twice a day. IVF 5th day blastocyst FET. Thanks.

  • Abigail
    Posted at 16:48h, 09 September Reply

    I’ve been prescribed this drug twice along with clomiphene citrate. I got a month’s worth of the prednisone but I didn’t finish them (stopped last friday). I was not made aware by my gynecologist that this was a steroid nor the side effects until I researched. I plan on going to another as there has to be a better and safer option.

  • Abigail
    Posted at 16:48h, 09 September Reply

    I’ve been prescribed this drug twice along with clomiphene citrate. I got a month’s worth of the prednisone but I didn’t finish them (stopped last friday). I was not made aware by my gynecologist that this was a steroid nor the side effects until I researched. I plan on going to another as there has to be a better and safer option.

  • Tressie
    Posted at 00:54h, 20 October Reply

    I am currently taking prednisone 20mg tablets. Is this safe? Per tour article, it states “no more than 20mg”. I have been married 16yrs, and we have been trying for 14yrs to conceive, been on numerous cycles of Clomid, had a couple of Hysterosalpingogram done, had my uterus and ovaries checked with ultrasound, every test an procedure I have done have all come back normal. Only explanation I have been given, unexplainable, but see nothing wrong for us to conceive. Last year we visited with a fertility specialist, and we will need to come up with about $750 to begin fertility treatment. In conclusion, can I continue with taking and finishing the prednisone that I am on, and engage in intercourse with my husband? This week I should be ovulating, according to the period diary app I use.

  • Tressie
    Posted at 00:54h, 20 October Reply

    I am currently taking prednisone 20mg tablets. Is this safe? Per tour article, it states “no more than 20mg”. I have been married 16yrs, and we have been trying for 14yrs to conceive, been on numerous cycles of Clomid, had a couple of Hysterosalpingogram done, had my uterus and ovaries checked with ultrasound, every test an procedure I have done have all come back normal. Only explanation I have been given, unexplainable, but see nothing wrong for us to conceive. Last year we visited with a fertility specialist, and we will need to come up with about $750 to begin fertility treatment. In conclusion, can I continue with taking and finishing the prednisone that I am on, and engage in intercourse with my husband? This week I should be ovulating, according to the period diary app I use.

  • Pagan
    Posted at 12:25h, 21 March Reply

    I have been trying to conceive for 10 years now, I have pcos, I have never received any fertility treatment, nor have I ever been pregnant, that was until December 2016 when I fell pregnant whilst taking prednisone, sadly that pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 8 weeks. I was only in Prednisone for 10 days for a chest infection so I never expected it would help me get pregnant. I have told my doctor that when I got pregnant I was on prednisone but they refuse to prescribe it me and they are well aware of my struggle to get pregnant. I have not been able to get pregnant since, no offer of help or any interest from Doctors of my fertility. If ever there comes up any trials to help women get pregnant on prednisone then I would happily put myself forward for it. I am saving up for surrogacy but if I can get pregnant naturally by taking prednisone then I would happily go for
    It

    • Jane
      Posted at 10:30h, 22 March Reply

      I’m confused by your comment. You said you’ve never had fertility treatment. Wouldn’t that be the first step, rather than jumping to surrogacy???

    • Dr.Devendra
      Posted at 06:20h, 15 April Reply

      Hi pagan,
      M Dr Devendra from India.
      I m a gynecologist ..I want to tell u one thing if u have got pregnant once half d battle u have won…it means there is nothing wrong in d process of fertilization and implantation ..only thing is, u have to continue it till term…which includes lot of things like ur age, normal uterine structure, hormonal level in body, h/o any infection and nutrition…once all dis factors work well der shudnt b a problem to make it reach till term….wish u a good luck.

    • Jen
      Posted at 02:50h, 18 June Reply

      Don’t take no for an answer. If your FS refuses to prescribe it, tell them you’re going to look for an FS who will. Your family doctor could also prescribe it,
      These doctors just don’t get it, a lot of the time we know what’s best for our bodies.
      You have to be courageous and be bold 🙂
      Trust your instincts and read loads of success stories from reading various fertility forums.
      The use of prednisone and baby aspirin and Lovenox has been a game changer for so many women with failed attempts including myself. There’s no real harm & if it works great 🙂

      • Gina
        Posted at 06:15h, 13 June Reply

        Hi Jen, I just read your comment. Did you use all 3 prior to pregnancy – aspirin, prednisone and clovox? Did your gynecologist prescribed them? With prednisone do your remember how long you had to take it for? I had 2 miscarriages and I failed transferred (didn’t get a positive pregnancy result).

    • Ashley
      Posted at 05:39h, 19 June Reply

      My Fertility doc has put me on it after egg retrieval. If you go to a fertility doctor they will prescribe it. So far I’m supposed to be on it until I do my pregnancy test in a week after transfer. You can also request it for other reasons like skin conditions and allergies. Then just try to get pregnant. Supposedly it’s taken up to week 12 only. They also have me on progesterone pills (5 /day) and some other estrogen to support the uteraean lining. Also if you’re Rh – and your partner if Rh positive it’s common for your body to attack the Cetus and kill it and miscarry. You can get the rho gham injection so you won’t kill his Sperm or the Cetus and this prevents rh miscarriage. Don’t give up! Also seeing a naturopath that specializes in Fertility will help. The longer you wait the less likely you’ll get pregnant so explore a fertility clinic now or freeze some eggs. Good luck dear 🙂

      • Gina
        Posted at 06:20h, 13 June Reply

        Hi Ashley,
        Do you mind me asking at how many weeks they gave you RhoGham injection?

        For Rh – and your partner if Rh +

  • Pagan
    Posted at 12:25h, 21 March Reply

    I have been trying to conceive for 10 years now, I have pcos, I have never received any fertility treatment, nor have I ever been pregnant, that was until December 2016 when I fell pregnant whilst taking prednisone, sadly that pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 8 weeks. I was only in Prednisone for 10 days for a chest infection so I never expected it would help me get pregnant. I have told my doctor that when I got pregnant I was on prednisone but they refuse to prescribe it me and they are well aware of my struggle to get pregnant. I have not been able to get pregnant since, no offer of help or any interest from Doctors of my fertility. If ever there comes up any trials to help women get pregnant on prednisone then I would happily put myself forward for it. I am saving up for surrogacy but if I can get pregnant naturally by taking prednisone then I would happily go for
    It

    • Jane
      Posted at 10:30h, 22 March Reply

      I’m confused by your comment. You said you’ve never had fertility treatment. Wouldn’t that be the first step, rather than jumping to surrogacy???

    • Dr.Devendra
      Posted at 06:20h, 15 April Reply

      Hi pagan,
      M Dr Devendra from India.
      I m a gynecologist ..I want to tell u one thing if u have got pregnant once half d battle u have won…it means there is nothing wrong in d process of fertilization and implantation ..only thing is, u have to continue it till term…which includes lot of things like ur age, normal uterine structure, hormonal level in body, h/o any infection and nutrition…once all dis factors work well der shudnt b a problem to make it reach till term….wish u a good luck.

    • Jen
      Posted at 02:50h, 18 June Reply

      Don’t take no for an answer. If your FS refuses to prescribe it, tell them you’re going to look for an FS who will. Your family doctor could also prescribe it,
      These doctors just don’t get it, a lot of the time we know what’s best for our bodies.
      You have to be courageous and be bold 🙂
      Trust your instincts and read loads of success stories from reading various fertility forums.
      The use of prednisone and baby aspirin and Lovenox has been a game changer for so many women with failed attempts including myself. There’s no real harm & if it works great 🙂

    • Ashley
      Posted at 05:39h, 19 June Reply

      My Fertility doc has put me on it after egg retrieval. If you go to a fertility doctor they will prescribe it. So far I’m supposed to be on it until I do my pregnancy test in a week after transfer. You can also request it for other reasons like skin conditions and allergies. Then just try to get pregnant. Supposedly it’s taken up to week 12 only. They also have me on progesterone pills (5 /day) and some other estrogen to support the uteraean lining. Also if you’re Rh – and your partner if Rh positive it’s common for your body to attack the Cetus and kill it and miscarry. You can get the rho gham injection so you won’t kill his Sperm or the Cetus and this prevents rh miscarriage. Don’t give up! Also seeing a naturopath that specializes in Fertility will help. The longer you wait the less likely you’ll get pregnant so explore a fertility clinic now or freeze some eggs. Good luck dear 🙂

  • Nelly
    Posted at 08:56h, 22 April Reply

    Hi just finished my second try of IVF blastocyst, was unsuccessful, can’t understand why cos my first try I fell pregnant but had miscarriage, didn’t know about Prednisone and wondering how new is this therapy as my doctor never suggested it. Wondering if I should go for another cycle!

  • Nelly
    Posted at 08:56h, 22 April Reply

    Hi just finished my second try of IVF blastocyst, was unsuccessful, can’t understand why cos my first try I fell pregnant but had miscarriage, didn’t know about Prednisone and wondering how new is this therapy as my doctor never suggested it. Wondering if I should go for another cycle!

  • J
    Posted at 14:16h, 29 May Reply

    It mentions that it may affect foetal growth…in what way?

    It seems to leave more questions that it answers.

    Can anyone help me with this please?

  • J
    Posted at 14:16h, 29 May Reply

    It mentions that it may affect foetal growth…in what way?

    It seems to leave more questions that it answers.

    Can anyone help me with this please?

  • Sharon
    Posted at 17:26h, 08 July Reply

    To the ladies above who are on the steroid, what dose are you on each day?
    Cheers

  • Sharon
    Posted at 17:26h, 08 July Reply

    To the ladies above who are on the steroid, what dose are you on each day?
    Cheers

  • Lyn scott
    Posted at 14:50h, 04 August Reply

    2nd round of ivf. This time prescribed predisinfection, aspirin, estrofem and progesterone but not folic acid. Just wondering whether it is still OK to take the pregnacare vitamin and folic acid supplements?

  • Lyn scott
    Posted at 14:50h, 04 August Reply

    2nd round of ivf. This time prescribed predisinfection, aspirin, estrofem and progesterone but not folic acid. Just wondering whether it is still OK to take the pregnacare vitamin and folic acid supplements?

  • Christine
    Posted at 19:42h, 13 September Reply

    I am on my way to Greece to have a donar egg implanted. I am on Prednisolone as well has having intralipid infusions. This is my 5 time so am hoping is all works this time

    • Kristi Atheneos
      Posted at 20:20h, 23 July Reply

      Hi Christine. I was just wondering if you were successful and why you chose Greece. I am Greek by the way!

  • Christine
    Posted at 19:42h, 13 September Reply

    I am on my way to Greece to have a donar egg implanted. I am on Prednisolone as well has having intralipid infusions. This is my 5 time so am hoping is all works this time

    • Kristi Atheneos
      Posted at 20:20h, 23 July Reply

      Hi Christine. I was just wondering if you were successful and why you chose Greece. I am Greek by the way!

  • Lynne Matthews
    Posted at 05:15h, 18 November Reply

    30 years ago I went to an Endocrinologist who specialized in Infertility. He looked at my ovulation temperature charts, and put me on Prednisolone 2.5mg a day and I became pregnant within 3 months. Three years later I went back on same dose and got pregnant the first month.

    • Lauren Neuenschwander
      Posted at 23:19h, 18 January Reply

      do you mind me asking how long you stayed on it and if your dose changed? thanks

  • Lynne Matthews
    Posted at 05:15h, 18 November Reply

    30 years ago I went to an Endocrinologist who specialized in Infertility. He looked at my ovulation temperature charts, and put me on Prednisolone 2.5mg a day and I became pregnant within 3 months. Three years later I went back on same dose and got pregnant the first month.

    • Lauren Neuenschwander
      Posted at 23:19h, 18 January Reply

      do you mind me asking how long you stayed on it and if your dose changed? thanks

    • Mitu
      Posted at 07:57h, 12 April Reply

      Hi…can u tell me for how long u took prednisolone?

    • Kera
      Posted at 01:42h, 07 December Reply

      Amazing

    • Justyna Young
      Posted at 12:41h, 08 March Reply

      How long where you on it

  • Alextwin
    Posted at 19:36h, 30 March Reply

    Hello.
    I’m actually in 10 week pregnancy and 8 week after I conceive and currently taking 20 mg predninsolone.I know that I should take two weeks more but after that should decrease 5 Mg per day said my doctor.It’s it ok?He don’t told me that I should decrease all the pills

    • Louisa
      Posted at 22:44h, 16 November Reply

      Hi did you take it before getting pregnant alextwin?

      I’m currently on it for high amount of killer cells which are stoping me from getting pregnant they gave me to help reduce and hopefully I can carry .

      Thanks

  • Alextwin
    Posted at 19:36h, 30 March Reply

    Hello.
    I’m actually in 10 week pregnancy and 8 week after I conceive and currently taking 20 mg predninsolone.I know that I should take two weeks more but after that should decrease 5 Mg per day said my doctor.It’s it ok?He don’t told me that I should decrease all the pills

    • Louisa
      Posted at 22:44h, 16 November Reply

      Hi did you take it before getting pregnant alextwin?

      I’m currently on it for high amount of killer cells which are stoping me from getting pregnant they gave me to help reduce and hopefully I can carry .

      Thanks

  • ravee
    Posted at 03:06h, 21 December Reply

    after 10 days of 5th day embryo blastocyst done , results are positive in beta hcg.
    my wife got rashes on skin ,side effect of medicine and started attecking to respiritri system so my doctor suggested for steroids and said that it may harm to pregancy. she is been pregnant after 8 years .

    Will it harm to my wifes pregnancy.

  • ravee
    Posted at 03:06h, 21 December Reply

    after 10 days of 5th day embryo blastocyst done , results are positive in beta hcg.
    my wife got rashes on skin ,side effect of medicine and started attecking to respiritri system so my doctor suggested for steroids and said that it may harm to pregancy. she is been pregnant after 8 years .

    Will it harm to my wifes pregnancy.

  • Sandy
    Posted at 15:30h, 22 December Reply

    Hi
    I conceived in 3rd ivf cycle. Now I’m in my 3rd week. Previously I had couple of blighted ovums, ruptured ectopic pregnancy and underwent many procedures but with no gain for 7 yrs. In this cycle, My fertility doc prescribed me wysolone 10mg from the day of egg retrieval after finding my HBA1c levels normal along with progesterone, estrogen & heparin. I’m worried if this 3 week duration of steroid intake wud have caused any fetal anomaly?? Plz can any 1 help me out with my confusion.

  • Sandy
    Posted at 15:30h, 22 December Reply

    Hi
    I conceived in 3rd ivf cycle. Now I’m in my 3rd week. Previously I had couple of blighted ovums, ruptured ectopic pregnancy and underwent many procedures but with no gain for 7 yrs. In this cycle, My fertility doc prescribed me wysolone 10mg from the day of egg retrieval after finding my HBA1c levels normal along with progesterone, estrogen & heparin. I’m worried if this 3 week duration of steroid intake wud have caused any fetal anomaly?? Plz can any 1 help me out with my confusion.

  • Emmanuel
    Posted at 16:53h, 18 January Reply

    Hi sir four months ago I had a skin disease and the doctor placed me on Prednisolone for one week but I am still on it till date will it affect my bearing children

  • Emmanuel
    Posted at 16:53h, 18 January Reply

    Hi sir four months ago I had a skin disease and the doctor placed me on Prednisolone for one week but I am still on it till date will it affect my bearing children

  • Natalie
    Posted at 20:57h, 29 February Reply

    I am roughly 4 weeks prenant and my doc just did a vaginal ultrasound confirming we are having 2 babies.. However, while viewing the ultrasound she found a quite a bit of liquid away from the embryos and prescribed baby aspirin and meticorten 5mg… I googled this medicine and it says something about fetal development, basically negative comments. I just dont know if I should take it or not… Is it safe?

  • Natalie
    Posted at 20:57h, 29 February Reply

    I am roughly 4 weeks prenant and my doc just did a vaginal ultrasound confirming we are having 2 babies.. However, while viewing the ultrasound she found a quite a bit of liquid away from the embryos and prescribed baby aspirin and meticorten 5mg… I googled this medicine and it says something about fetal development, basically negative comments. I just dont know if I should take it or not… Is it safe?

    • Mari G
      Posted at 08:02h, 16 January Reply

      Hi. I am currently 5 weeks and got prescribed the same. Can you tell me if it was beneficial for you? I’ve struggled and have had a couple of miscarriages, so I really appreciate it if you can tell me your experience. I don’t want anything to harm my baby.

  • RISPER BUYAKI
    Posted at 00:18h, 30 March Reply

    Hi have been taking predinisone for the last 8 years for chest infections .can it causes infertility. Have been trying to concieve but no result of pregnancy

  • RISPER BUYAKI
    Posted at 00:18h, 30 March Reply

    Hi have been taking predinisone for the last 8 years for chest infections .can it causes infertility. Have been trying to concieve but no result of pregnancy

  • kara davies
    Posted at 08:48h, 07 May Reply

    hi im about to go into my fourth cycle of Ivf this time round being treated for an immune problem so I’m being put on 10mg prednisone as well as clexane a blood thinner also I’ll be having lubion injections as well as the pessaries I’m praying I have my miracle this time round does anyone know if I’ll gain a lot of weight on 10mg of predisone and has anyone else got any succes from using these drugs please?

  • Akinbami olaoluwa owoetomo
    Posted at 14:25h, 21 August Reply

    So what is the main work of prednisolone in early pregnancy or side effects?

  • Angelina
    Posted at 11:29h, 31 December Reply

    I have my third donor egg transfer. I’ve been prescribed steroids for potential inflammation due to a mild insulin resistance, for which I will take metformin. I do not have diabetes yet thankfully. I’ve been prescribed Dexamethasone 1,5mg/day until embryo transfer. After embryo transfer, I should take Prednisone 10mg.

    I don’t know whether or not to take these steroids as I am worried about the potential side effects. Has anyone had any positive or negative experience of these and/or any advice as one day I think I should just take them as they’ve been recommended by a doctor and the next day I’m just scared that I’m being asked to take something that may cause harm with no guarantees. Any guidance greatly appreciated and wishing you health, luck and happiness for the new year.

    • Maryan
      Posted at 08:11h, 27 January Reply

      Hi Angelina, I’ve had 2 successful pregnancies on 10mg prednisone (solupred)/baby aspirin/uterogestan 200mg and lovenox injections daily for 14 weeks. My two babies were born healthy. Before them, I had eight miscarriages and I am thankful to God that this combo worked well for me. I hope and prays it works out for you too.

    • Angelina
      Posted at 21:22h, 14 March Reply

      Thank you Maryan for replying. I almost forgot that I’d posted this message and was googling steroids again generally and I came across your reply by chance. I will now see this as a sign! It’s great to hear that it worked for you and that your little ones are healthy. I’m not sure if you’ll see this message as it’s been some months since your message but do you recall how you felt on the steroids? Did they affect your health at all? Thank you so much for taking the time to share your experience to help me. Best wishes.

  • Roxanne
    Posted at 18:22h, 25 April Reply

    Hi all, was trying to get pregnant for ten years, doctor prescribed me 5mg Prednisone for a chest infection (didn’t know this helped fertility)! Was on them for 5 days only and fell pregnant! I am now 10weeks 4days, over the moon! Id recommend these to anyone trying. It worked for me, never tried IVF due to financial difficulty was in the frame of mind if I happens it happens if not then not meant to be! I wish I’d known about this sooner! Go for it girl what do you have to lose?! X

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