What is prolactin and how does it affect IVF?

What is prolactin and how does it affect IVF?

 

Abstract word cloud for Prolactin with related tags and terms

Prolactin is a hormone that originates in your pituitary gland. It functions in virtually every cell in your body. Pregnant women and nursing mothers produce high levels of prolactin. Why? Because it’s instrumental in creating breast milk.

IVF patients, and couples trying for a baby naturally, need to watch their prolactin levels. It may seem like a badge of fertility to have lots of it. But the reverse is true. Too much prolactin is a barrier to conception and successful IVF treatment. The good news? It can be fixed.

A prolactin test is often recommended for women with menstrual or fertility problems. It’s routine before IVF treatment. Women who breastfeed, particularly in the first few months after birth, often don’t menstruate or ovulate. That’s the power of prolactin: it generates milk but puts the breaks on reproduction. Mother Nature is saying: you’ve got your hands full so don’t, for goodness sake, have another one yet.

You don’t want maternal prolactin levels when you’re trying to get pregnant or having IVF. You want to ovulate. You want, ideally, a regular cycle that can be controlled by IVF medication. You want to produce progesterone to plump up your uterine lining. High levels of prolactin, called hyperprolactinemia, can stop that happening.

A normal starting point for prolactin is 102 mIU/L. If your score is over 496, your conception chances could be compromised. Very high levels could mean an under-active thyroid, liver or kidney problems, PCOS or stress. You might even have a pituitary cyst or tumour (don’t panic: this is unlikely and can be treated successfully).

A prolactin test should ideally be done in the morning. It can be done on any day of your cycle. For IVF patients, it makes sense to have the other blood-hormone tests (AMH, FSH, LH and TSH) at the same time. But if you do them all together, they must be done on day 2 or 3 of your cycle.

Normal prolactin levels, in a 2018 study of ICSI and prolactin, could lead to better-quality embryos in an IVF cycle. Tell your doctor if you’re taking anti-depressants, anticoagulants, estrogens, the birth-control pill or any other medication. These could skew the prolactin result.

1 in 10 women with fertility issues has elevated prolactin. If you’re one of them, all is not lost. Medication (e.g. Dostinex) can balance your prolactin levels and boost your pregnancy chances – whether via IVF or not.

32 Comments
  • Huda Aqeel
    Posted at 04:52h, 08 November Reply

    Hi,
    I have one fallopian tube closed (the left one). Can I do IUI, and what is the success rate?
    If my prolactin is high, can I do IUI or IVF or does it interfere with them? Thank you.

    • Your IVF Journey
      Posted at 19:25h, 22 November Reply

      Many thanks for your question. Please contact us for a medical questionnaire. You can mention the prolactin issue on it. It is possible to have IVF with just one tube. Indeed, IVF bypasses the tubes by its very nature.

  • Huda Aqeel
    Posted at 04:52h, 08 November Reply

    Hi,
    I have one fallopian tube closed (the left one). Can I do IUI, and what is the success rate?
    If my prolactin is high, can I do IUI or IVF or does it interfere with them? Thank you.

    • Your IVF Journey
      Posted at 19:25h, 22 November Reply

      Many thanks for your question. Please contact us for a medical questionnaire. You can mention the prolactin issue on it. It is possible to have IVF with just one tube. Indeed, IVF bypasses the tubes by its very nature.

  • Tanzina Mcclure
    Posted at 21:38h, 25 October Reply

    Hi my name is Tanzania, am 42 yrs old am going through ivf for the first time, but a couple of weeks ago found out that I have a fibroid in my uterus cavity and I was put on meds to bring down my prolactin. Has anyone else ever gone through this before and they were successful. Need feedback. Thanks, and baby dust to all.

  • Tanzina Mcclure
    Posted at 21:38h, 25 October Reply

    Hi my name is Tanzania, am 42 yrs old am going through ivf for the first time, but a couple of weeks ago found out that I have a fibroid in my uterus cavity and I was put on meds to bring down my prolactin. Has anyone else ever gone through this before and they were successful. Need feedback. Thanks, and baby dust to all.

  • Sophia rodrigues
    Posted at 12:48h, 05 November Reply

    I’m undergoing IVF treatment, but the problem is my prolactin count is 139. What should I do? Does anyone have any idea?

  • Sophia rodrigues
    Posted at 12:48h, 05 November Reply

    I’m undergoing IVF treatment, but the problem is my prolactin count is 139. What should I do? Does anyone have any idea?

  • Lona
    Posted at 08:34h, 21 January Reply

    Hi
    I would like have IVF treatment but my prolactin is 700, can I go with IVF treatment or not?

    • Alison
      Posted at 20:11h, 13 March Reply

      Hello. I have high prolactin levels and I was not on medication for my failed cycle but for my 2nd successful cycle I was taking medication to bring down prolactin right up to the positive pregnancy test. This was standard practice at my clinic – that high prolactin was not good for IVF

  • Lona
    Posted at 08:34h, 21 January Reply

    Hi
    I would like have IVF treatment but my prolactin is 700, can I go with IVF treatment or not?

    • Alison
      Posted at 20:11h, 13 March Reply

      Hello. I have high prolactin levels and I was not on medication for my failed cycle but for my 2nd successful cycle I was taking medication to bring down prolactin right up to the positive pregnancy test. This was standard practice at my clinic – that high prolactin was not good for IVF

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 15:32h, 03 February Reply

    Hi

    I have just finished my second cycle of IVF-both failed due to male infertility. My questions is that I have had a pituitary tumour for over 10 years which is controlled by medication could this also be having an effect on our cycles? Before both cycles our clinics haven’t advised to do anything with regards to stopping or continuing medication, I have took it upon myself and have always stopped once starting stimulation! Any info would be appreciated! Thanks

    • Cristina
      Posted at 21:13h, 09 March Reply

      Hi Rebecca,
      Did you managed to find any answers to your question? I am experiencing a similar situation. I am now under my first IFV cycle. The doctor did not ask anything about my prolactin level or small pituitary tumor – although i just read my IVF medication prescriptions and it seems they are not recommended when a tumor is present. I am currently under Dostinex too…

    • Alison
      Posted at 20:10h, 13 March Reply

      Hello. I have high prolactin levels and I was not on medication for my failed cycle but for my 2nd successful cycle I was taking medication to bring down prolactin right up to the positive pregnancy test. This was standard practice at my clinic – that high prolactin was not good for IVF

    • Rebecca
      Posted at 12:04h, 22 March Reply

      Hi Cristina 🙂

      I spoke to both my GP doctor and my clinic doctor, my GP doesn’t really know much about my medication and IVF and has just advised me to do what it says on the information leaflet which is stop medication 4 weeks before planning a baby which is very vague but I suppose in our circumstance this is pretty straight forward as I am just going to count back roughly 4 weeks from egg collection. My clinic doctor isn’t concerned at all by the medication and said I could continue with them till I had received a positive pregnancy test although I am going to stick with the 4 weeks before just for peace of mind. Hope this helps my medication I am on is Caberogline, I hope the first round of IVF is being kind to you, wishing you all the best! X

  • Rebecca
    Posted at 15:32h, 03 February Reply

    Hi

    I have just finished my second cycle of IVF-both failed due to male infertility. My questions is that I have had a pituitary tumour for over 10 years which is controlled by medication could this also be having an effect on our cycles? Before both cycles our clinics haven’t advised to do anything with regards to stopping or continuing medication, I have took it upon myself and have always stopped once starting stimulation! Any info would be appreciated! Thanks

    • Cristina
      Posted at 21:13h, 09 March Reply

      Hi Rebecca,
      Did you managed to find any answers to your question? I am experiencing a similar situation. I am now under my first IFV cycle. The doctor did not ask anything about my prolactin level or small pituitary tumor – although i just read my IVF medication prescriptions and it seems they are not recommended when a tumor is present. I am currently under Dostinex too…

    • Alison
      Posted at 20:10h, 13 March Reply

      Hello. I have high prolactin levels and I was not on medication for my failed cycle but for my 2nd successful cycle I was taking medication to bring down prolactin right up to the positive pregnancy test. This was standard practice at my clinic – that high prolactin was not good for IVF

    • Rebecca
      Posted at 12:04h, 22 March Reply

      Hi Cristina 🙂

      I spoke to both my GP doctor and my clinic doctor, my GP doesn’t really know much about my medication and IVF and has just advised me to do what it says on the information leaflet which is stop medication 4 weeks before planning a baby which is very vague but I suppose in our circumstance this is pretty straight forward as I am just going to count back roughly 4 weeks from egg collection. My clinic doctor isn’t concerned at all by the medication and said I could continue with them till I had received a positive pregnancy test although I am going to stick with the 4 weeks before just for peace of mind. Hope this helps my medication I am on is Caberogline, I hope the first round of IVF is being kind to you, wishing you all the best! X

  • winnie wan
    Posted at 08:50h, 15 June Reply

    Hi Im Winnie, on 2011 i was diagnosed with pituitary gland tumor with the prolactine reading nearly 3000 . I’ve started the bromocriptine since 2012 until 2014. And was prescribed to Cabergoline since 2014 till now since it is much more effective to suppressed my prolactine hormone. After 2years on meds, the prolactine was normalized.

    Even my prolactine was normalized, we are having difficulties to conceive. This had saddened my but im learning to accept the fate. We are opting for IVF this year end. I am hopeful that it gonna be fruitful.

  • winnie wan
    Posted at 08:50h, 15 June Reply

    Hi Im Winnie, on 2011 i was diagnosed with pituitary gland tumor with the prolactine reading nearly 3000 . I’ve started the bromocriptine since 2012 until 2014. And was prescribed to Cabergoline since 2014 till now since it is much more effective to suppressed my prolactine hormone. After 2years on meds, the prolactine was normalized.

    Even my prolactine was normalized, we are having difficulties to conceive. This had saddened my but im learning to accept the fate. We are opting for IVF this year end. I am hopeful that it gonna be fruitful.

  • Grace adaji
    Posted at 23:14h, 25 June Reply

    Hi.i have high prolactin and am about going in for ivf.will it work?

  • Grace adaji
    Posted at 23:14h, 25 June Reply

    Hi.i have high prolactin and am about going in for ivf.will it work?

  • Sarah
    Posted at 16:25h, 10 August Reply

    My prolactin is 700 is it possible to have IVF or not

  • Sarah
    Posted at 16:25h, 10 August Reply

    My prolactin is 700 is it possible to have IVF or not

  • Tameka
    Posted at 13:09h, 19 September Reply

    Yes I have a high prolactin level reading at 102 and I’m doing ivf as well to conceive because I have scar tissue at my tubes, but now is my question in, how you can control the level of your prolactin and help it to be normal to conceive? They want my follicles to grow more bigger than where they at but they is measured at 13 and 12 on most of them is that good.

  • Tameka
    Posted at 13:09h, 19 September Reply

    Yes I have a high prolactin level reading at 102 and I’m doing ivf as well to conceive because I have scar tissue at my tubes, but now is my question in, how you can control the level of your prolactin and help it to be normal to conceive? They want my follicles to grow more bigger than where they at but they is measured at 13 and 12 on most of them is that good.

  • Sapana Manish Srivasta
    Posted at 09:05h, 27 June Reply

    Hi ,
    ng/ml
    I have microadenoma and I am taking cabergoline medicine since 5 year but prolactin level is not getting low. It always between 40 to 100 .

    I am planning to go for IVF because already I completed 3 IUI cycle with negative result.

    Please let me know can I go for IVF at this prolatine level.

    • Mary Ogwashi
      Posted at 14:44h, 09 August Reply

      Hi. After the fourth IVF cycle failed. The doctor checked my prolactin level to discover that it was high. I’m presently on meds preparing for another cycle. High prolactin can affect IVF success rate.

  • Sapana Manish Srivasta
    Posted at 09:05h, 27 June Reply

    Hi ,
    ng/ml
    I have microadenoma and I am taking cabergoline medicine since 5 year but prolactin level is not getting low. It always between 40 to 100 .

    I am planning to go for IVF because already I completed 3 IUI cycle with negative result.

    Please let me know can I go for IVF at this prolatine level.

    • Mary Ogwashi
      Posted at 14:44h, 09 August Reply

      Hi. After the fourth IVF cycle failed. The doctor checked my prolactin level to discover that it was high. I’m presently on meds preparing for another cycle. High prolactin can affect IVF success rate.

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