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Curr Opin Obstet Gynecol. 2002 Jun;14(3):255-63.

Aromatase inhibition for ovarian stimulation: future avenues for infertility management.

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  • 1Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and Mount Sinai Hospital, Reproductive Sciences Division, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Ovarian stimulation is applied during infertility management either alone or in conjunction with intrauterine insemination and assisted reproductive technologies. At the present time, the two main medications used for ovarian stimulation include an oral antiestrogen, clomiphene citrate, and injectable gonadotropins. In spite of the high ovulation rate with the use of clomiphene citrate, the pregnancy rate is much lower. In clomiphene citrate failures, gonadotropin injections have generally been used as the next treatment option. Treatment with gonadotropins is difficult to control and characteristically associated with increased risk of severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and high multiple pregnancies. Therefore, an effective oral treatment that could be used without risk of hyperstimulation and with minimal monitoring is the preferred therapy. We hypothesize that aromatase inhibitors can be administered early in the follicular phase to induce ovulation by releasing the hypothalamus or pituitary from estrogen negative feedback. Based on this hypothesis, we have reported the success of aromatase inhibitors in induction and augmentation of ovulation in addition to improving ovarian response to gonadotropin stimulation. Moreover, there are other potential applications for aromatase inhibitors in infertility management, including improving implantation in assisted reproduction and in-vitro maturation.

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