In a nutshell
This study investigated if inhibin A (IHA) is associated with oocyte maturation (OM) during ovarian stimulation (OS). They found that IHA levels are associated with OM.
Infertility is an increasing problem worldwide. Assisted reproductive techniques (ART) are used to treat infertility. Controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) is an ART. It involves taking medication to stimulate oocyte (egg) maturation (OM) in the ovaries. This leads to the production of follicles that can be harvested for fertilization. During COS a drug is used to trigger follicle release. Follicles are then harvested for ART. This includes in vitro fertilization (IVF). The number of mature follicles is very important for IVF success.
It is important that oocytes are harvested when they have matured. A transvaginal ultrasound (TVU) is used to determine OM. A hormone called estradiol (E2) increases when OM occurs. This is not always reliable in COS. Inhibin A (IHA) is a hormone produced by ovarian follicle cells. Some studies suggest that IHA levels increase as the oocyte matures. IHA levels only increase when a follicle is 12-15 mm. It is unclear if IHA can be used to predict OM during COS.
Methods & findings
This study included 136 women undergoing COS. Patients underwent COS as prescribed by their doctor. TVU was used to measure the number of existing follicles. This is called the antral follicle count (AFC). Follicle size was also recorded. Blood samples were taken to measure hormones including E2 and IHA.
IHA levels were associated with follicle size of 15 mm or greater. IHA levels were a useful predictor of AFC greater than 10. E2 levels were also associated with OM however it was not as strong as IHA.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that IHA levels are associated with OM during COS.
The fine print
Different COS protocols were used in these patients. IHA levels were not used to determine the trigger time for harvesting follicles. This means it is not clear if IHA levels can be useful in practice. Controlled studies are needed to investigate this further.
If you have any concerns regarding infertility management please consult with your doctor.
Published By :
Frontiers in Endocrinology
Jun 06, 2020