As a new study reveals too much fertility hormone decreases a woman’s chance of pregnancy by up to 20%- do doctors need to rethink IVF meds?
The study by Michigan StateUniversity researchers compared over 650,00 IVF cycles nationally. Led by Professor James Ireland, reproductive physiologist, the MSU team comprised Ob/Gyn Barbara Luke, biostatistics professor Morton Brown and Professor George Smith, animal scientist.
Results confirm findings from other, smaller, studies that as the total dose of FSH Follicle Stimulating Hormone is increased – the actual birthrate dramatically declines.
Traditional in vitro fertilization wisdom believes in a ‘more is better’ approach to FSH dosing, saying it improves pregnancy outcomes. Michigan University research findings are basically saying that too much of a good thing sabotages IVF and this is a very big study. High doses of FSH bring very uncomfortable side-effects. Ovaries can increase in size from that of a walnut to that of a cantaloupe, even when all goes well. I haven’t even mentioned the risks of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome – OHSS.
What is FSH?
Produced by the pituitary gland at the base of the brain – FSH – Follicle Stimulating Hormone regulates ovary function and ovulation in women. For men it regulates testicular activity.
During IVF FSH is given to stimulate the ovaries to produce many more eggs for harvesting and fertilization. Usually one or two mature eggs are released at monthly ovulation. Artificially stimulated ovaries may ripen and release up to 20 eggs in one cycle.
“The study answers the question of whether or not more FSH is detrimental to to the survival of the embryo,” according to Professor Ireland. “As the dosage of FSH increased, the birthrate decreased by as much as 15-20%.
Interesting to note – this significant drop in live births was not influenced by the patients’ health, age or weight.