Effect of norgestrel on development of mouse pre-embryos

Julia Logan, Michael P. Diamond, Gad Lavy, Alan H. DeCherney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The effect of synthetic progestins found in oral contraceptives has potential implications for developing embryos in women who receive oral contraceptives during early pregnancy. We assessed the effect of the progestin norgestrel on the developing pre-embryo. B3C6F1 mice were given 5 IU PMSG followed by 5 IU hCG 48h later. Studies were performed on pre-embryos recovered and pooled at both 24h (Group A) and 48h (Group B) post hCG. At each time period, they were randomly assigned to control or norgestrel (4.0 ng/ml) treatment. In a third study, pre-embryos collected 24h post hCG were cultured in the absence or presence of 8.0, 80.0, or 800 ng/ml norgestrel. Cultures were performed in Ham's F-10 media with 10% fetal calf serum at 37 °C in an atmosphere of 5% CO2, 5% O2 and 90% N2 with 15-30 embryos per 1 ml of culture fluid. At 24h, 48h and 72h post recovery, cultures were viewed, the appearance of embryos noted, and number of blastomeres recorded. Compared to control groups, analysis demonstrated no significant difference in the rate of development of control and norgestrel pre-embryos in any group at any time period (24h, 48h, or 72h post recovery). We conclude that norgestrel at the dose tested has no acute adverse morphological effects on development of mouse pre-embryos. This observation has potential clinical implications with regard to inadvertent use of norgestrel-containing oral contraceptives during early days of pregnancy, as well as consideration of the mechanism of action of norgestrel-containing "morning after" pills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)555-561
Number of pages7
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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