Patient Resources

Luteal Phase Defect Explained

If you are having trouble getting pregnant or have had miscarriages, a condition known as the luteal phase defect may be playing a role. The luteal phase begins during the second half of the menstrual cycle, normally lasting around 12-14 days after ovulation. During this time, the lining of the uterus thickens to prepare for a possible pregnancy. If you have a luteal phase defect, the lining does not grow properly each month, making it difficult to become or remain pregnant. 

The Luteal Phase Defect

A Luteal Phase Defect (LPD) is when there is an abnormality in the endometrial development. When a luteal phase defect occurs, the secretion of progesterone by the ovary is below normal or the endometrium is not responding to the normal stimulation of progesterone. The condition has been linked to health problems including the following:

  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Anorexia
  • Hyperprolactinemia
  • Extreme amounts of exercise
  • Obesity

Many times, if these conditions are treated, you can correct your luteal phase defect. When you have a luteal phase defect, you may notice that you have more frequent periods and spotting between periods. You may have trouble getting pregnant or have miscarriages.


There are three methods of therapy commonly used to treat luteal phase defect. 

  • Clomiphene citrate (Clomid) to stimulate follicular growth
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to improve corpus luteum secretion of progesterone
  • Progesterone injections, pills, or suppositories used after ovulation to help the lining of the uterus grow

Talk to your doctor about your treatment options to find which option is best for you. 


The North Carolina Center for Reproductive Medicine/Talbert Fertility Institute is the premiere center for reproductive health in North Carolina and the East Coast. Our team specializes in fertility testing, diagnosis, and treatment of infertility conditions. We’re experts in IVF, Tubal Ligation Reversal, Male Infertility, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), Gestation Surrogacy, Family Balancing, and more. Contact us today.

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