In a nutshell
This study explored the option of using low-dose human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) alone to complete follicle maturity in natural cycle in vitro fertilization (IVF). The results showed that hCG alone could be used to complete follicle maturity. There was no requirement for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
IVF is an assisted reproduction technique in which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body and then implanted into the woman’s uterus. Ovulation (when an egg is released from the ovary) is typically controlled by drugs during IVF to achieve the best possible result. A hormone called follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is typically administered to stimulate the growth of the egg follicles (which carry the eggs) in the ovaries before the release of an egg from one of the follicles at ovulation. HCG is a hormone that helps trigger the final maturation (readiness) of the egg. The impact of administering hCG alone during IVF, without FSH, is unclear.
Methods & findings
This study included three couples with male-related fertility issues. The female patients had normal monthly cycles and normal levels of FSH in their bodies. Patients were monitored with ultrasound and blood tests to measure estrogen levels. When the main follicle was close to ovulation, a GnRH antagonist (used to block ovulation until the follicles are ready) and hCG were administered over a two to three day period. The eggs were then retrieved, fertilized and implanted.
In each patient, the procedure resulted in one or more retrieved follicles. The procedure resulted in three live births.
The bottom line
The study concluded that hCG alone could be used in modified, but natural, IVF treatment in women with normal ovulatory cycles.
The fine print
This was a very small study of only three patients. Further research is needed to determine if these results can be applied to a wider population.
Published By :
Fertility and Sterility
Feb 06, 2016