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Hum Reprod Update. 2014 Jan-Feb;20(1):124-40. doi: 10.1093/humupd/dmt037. Epub 2013 Sep 29.

Individualization of controlled ovarian stimulation in IVF using ovarian reserve markers: from theory to practice.

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Mother-Infant Department, Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, 41100 Modena, Italy.



The main objective of individualization of treatment in IVF is to offer every single woman the best treatment tailored to her own unique characteristics, thus maximizing the chances of pregnancy and eliminating the iatrogenic and avoidable risks resulting from ovarian stimulation. Personalization of treatment in IVF should be based on the prediction of ovarian response for every individual. The starting point is to identify if a woman is likely to have a normal, poor or a hyper response and choose the ideal treatment protocol tailored to this prediction. The objective of this review is to summarize the predictive ability of ovarian reserve markers, such as antral follicle count (AFC) and anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH), and the therapeutic strategies that have been proposed in IVF after this prediction.


A systematic review of the existing literature was performed by searching Medline, EMBASE, Cochrane library and Web of Science for publications in the English language related to AFC, AMH and their incorporation into controlled ovarian stimulation (COS) protocols in IVF. Literature available to May 2013 was included.


The search generated 305 citations of which 41 and 25 studies, respectively, reporting the ability of AMH and AFC to predict response to COS were included in this review. The literature review demonstrated that AFC and AMH, the most sensitive markers of ovarian reserve identified to date, are ideal in planning personalized COS protocols. These sensitive markers permit prediction of the whole spectrum of ovarian response with reliable accuracy and clinicians may use either of the two markers as they can be considered interchangeable. Following the categorization of expected ovarian response to stimulation clinicians can adopt tailored therapeutic strategies for each patient. Current scientific trend suggests the elective use of the GnRH antagonist based regimen for hyper-responders, and probably also poor responders, as likely to be beneficial. The selection of the appropriate and individualized gonadotrophin dose is also of paramount importance for effective COS and subsequent IVF outcomes.


Personalized IVF offers several benefits; it enables clinicians to give women more accurate information on their prognosis thus facilitating counselling especially in cases of extremes of ovarian response. The deployment of therapeutic strategies based on selective use of GnRH analogues and the fine tuning of the gonadotrophin dose on the basis of potential ovarian response in every single woman can allow for a safer and more effective IVF practice.


IVF; anti-Mullerian hormone; antral follicle count; individualization; ovarian reserve

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