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Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2018 Jan 31;9:14. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2018.00014. eCollection 2018.

DHEA Supplementation Confers No Additional Benefit to that of Growth Hormone on Pregnancy and Live Birth Rates in IVF Patients Categorized as Poor Prognosis.

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School of Pharmacy and Biomedical Science, Faculty of Health Sciences, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia.
PIVET Medical Centre, Perth, WA, Australia.
Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, Curtin University, Perth, WA, Australia.



In vitro fertilization (IVF) patients receive various adjuvant therapies to enhance success rates, but the true benefit is actively debated. Growth hormone (GH) and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation were assessed in women undergoing fresh IVF transfer cycles and categorized as poor prognosis from five criteria.


Data were retrospectively analyzed from 626 women undergoing 626 IVF cycles, where they received no adjuvant, GH alone, or GH-DHEA in combination. A small group received DHEA alone. The utilization of adjuvants was decided between the attending clinician and the patient depending on various factors including cost.


Despite patients being significantly older with lower ovarian reserve, live birth rates were significantly greater with GH alone (18.6%) and with GH-DHEA (13.0%) in comparison to those with no adjuvant (p < 0.003). No significant difference was observed between the GH groups (p = 0.181). Overall, patient age, quality of the transferred embryo, and GH treatment were the only significant independent predictors of live birth chance. Following adjustment for patient age, antral follicle count, and quality of transferred embryo, GH alone and GH-DHEA led to a 7.1-fold and 5.6-fold increase in live birth chance, respectively (p < 0.000).


These data indicated that GH adjuvant may support more live births, particularly in younger women, and importantly, the positive effects of GH treatment were still observed even if DHEA was also used in combination. However, supplementation with DHEA did not indicate any potentiating benefit or modify the effects of GH treatment. Due to the retrospective design, and the risk of a selection bias, caution is advised in the interpretation of the data.


adjuvants; dehydroepiandrosterone; embryo quality; growth hormone; in vitro fertilization

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