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New Tool Helps Assess Ovarian Reserve, IVF Success


a blog by CHR, April 6, 2012

A new tool developed by the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR) offers new insights into understanding ovarian reserve and may help doctors better determine a woman’s pregnancy chances with in vitro fertilization (IVF).

The tool, referred to as FSHo, is the ratio of follicle stimulating hormone levels per retrieved oocyte (egg) in an IVF cycle. Historically, when a doctor is trying to determine how well a woman’s ovaries are functioning, he or she will measure two different hormones: anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). However, these hormones represent two different stages of the development of an egg inside the ovary, and are not necessarily very accurate predictors of whether or not an IVF cycle will result in a pregnancy for a woman with low ovarian reserve.

In order to better understand how these two hormones affect a woman’s ovarian reserve, CHR’s Norbert Gleicher, M.D., and colleagues performed a study that used the FSHo tool along with another tool called the AMHo, which allowed them to examine how these hormones correlate with egg yield in an IVF cycle. These tools were applied to nearly 400 different women undergoing IVF treatment cycles and then compared to the clinical pregnancy rates achieved in each woman.

According to the results of the study, FSHo was significantly associated with pregnancy chances in IVF for women over the age of 38. AMHo, on the other hand, was not.

The paper reports that FSHo, but not AMHo, is statistically predictive of IVF pregnancy chances. Indeed, FSH levels at all ages in women who do conceive remain exactly the same, suggesting that there may be a benefit from stimulating patients towards this FSHo level in maximizing IVF pregnancy chances.

This study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: "Toward a Better Understanding of Functional Ovarian Reserve: AMH (AMHo) and FSH (FSHo) Hormone Ratios per Retrieved Oocyte."


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