Certain patients have a tendency for high response to gonadotrophin therapy which is often not ameliorated with prior gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) suppression. As a result, these patients are frequently cancelled and often experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) episodes during in-vitro fertilization (IVF)-embryo transfer cycles. Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) have been noted to be particularly sensitive to exogenous gonadotrophin therapy. We have developed a protocol which is effective in improving IVF outcome in high responder patients, including those with PCOS. Oral contraceptive pills (OCP) are taken for 25 days followed by s.c. leuprolide acetate, 1 mg/day, which is overlapped with the final 5 days of oral contraceptive administration. Low-dose gonadotrophin stimulation is then initiated on the third day of withdrawal bleeding in the form of either human menopausal gonadotrophins or purified urinary follicle-stimulating hormone at a dosage of 150 IU/day. Over a 5 year period, we reviewed our experience utilizing this dual method of suppression in 99 cycles obtained in 73 high responder patients. There were only 13 cancellations prior to embryo transfer (13.1%). The clinical and ongoing pregnancy rates per initiated cycle were 46.5 and 40.4% respectively. Only eight patients experienced mild-moderate OHSS following treatment. For those patients who had undergone previous IVF-embryo transfer cycles at our centre, significant improvements were noted in oocyte fertilization rates, embryo implantation rates and clinical/ongoing pregnancy rates with this protocol. Hormonal analyses revealed that the chief mechanism may be through an improved luteinizing hormone/follicle-stimulating hormone ratio following dual suppression. An additional feature of this dual method of suppression is significantly lower serum androgen concentrations, particularly dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate.
- Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist
- High responder
- In-vitro fertilization
- Oral contraceptives
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome