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Reprod Biomed Online. 2019 Jun;38(6):908-915. doi: 10.1016/j.rbmo.2019.02.003. Epub 2019 Feb 27.

Human growth hormone for poor responders: a randomized placebo-controlled trial provides no evidence for improved live birth rate.

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University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia; , Fertility SA, 431 King William Road, Adelaide, SA 5000, Australia. Electronic address:
University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia.
University of Adelaide, Robinson Research Institute, North Adelaide, SA 5006, Australia; South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute, Robinson Research Institute, North Adelaide, SA 5006; Monash University, Clayton, VIC 3800, Australia.
Fertility Specialists of Western Australia, Claremont, WA 6010; The University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia.
Adelaide Health Technology Assessment, School of Public Health, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5006; Quality Use of Medicines Pharmacy Research Centre, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia.
Monash IVF, Monash Surgical Private Hospital, Clayton, VIC 3168, Australia.



Does the addition of human growth hormone (HGH) to an IVF cycle improve the live birth rate in previously documented poor responders to FSH?


Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial comparing HGH to placebo in maximal stimulation in an IVF cycle. The study was stopped after 4 years. Women receiving ovarian stimulation in one IVF cycle, having failed to produce more than 5 eggs in a previous cycle with more than 250 IU/day of FSH were included. Basal FSH was ≤15 IU/l, body mass index <33 kg/m2, age <41 years. HGH or placebo were added from the start of the cycle in a double-blinded manner. The primary outcome was live birth rate.


The live birth rates following an IVF cycle were 9/62 (14.5%) for growth hormone and 7/51 (13.7%) for the placebo group (risk difference 0.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] -12.1 to 13.7%; odds ratio [OR] 1.07, 95% CI 0.37-3.10). There was a greater odds of oocyte retrieval with growth hormone (OR 5.67, 95% CI 1.54-20.80) but no better chance of embryo transfer (OR 1.42, 95% CI 0.50-4.00). Birth weights were comparable.


Planned participant numbers were not reached. It was not possible to demonstrate an increase in live birth rate from the addition of growth hormone in women with a previous poor ovarian response to IVF.


Human growth hormone; IVF; Live birth; Poor responders; Randomized controlled trial


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