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Dear Patient Care Advocates: Should I Take DHEA Supplements for Fertility?

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Dear Patient Care Advocates:

I have low ovarian reserve and of the four IVF cycles I have attempted, none have been successful. In fact, only a few eggs were retrieved each time and none made it to blastocyst stage. I am desperate to improve my egg quality to try just one more IVF with my own eggs before considering donor eggs. Can you please tell me if DHEA will help me have a successful IVF cycle?


Heartbroken in KS

Dear Heartbroken,

Let me preface by saying I am not a doctor and I am only providing advice/information based on what I have read and learned through my own infertility journey. Some fertility doctors will recommend that their patients with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) or premature ovarian failure (POF) take DHEA to boost egg quality. It takes about three months to fully benefit from the DHEA supplement.

DHEA naturally occurs in the male and female body. DHEA supplements can boost levels of androgens necessary for healthy egg development and function. Research shows that DHEA can help fertility patients in the following ways:

  • Higher IVF success rates
  • Increased quality and quantity of eggs retrieved during IVF and embryos created
  • Increased chance of getting pregnant on your own, naturally
  • Getting pregnant sooner
  • Decreased risk of miscarriage, especially due to chromosomal abnormalities in the embryo

You should consult your doctor about dosage, prospective interactions with your fertility drugs, and other health risks before taking the supplement.

For more information and individual experiences with DHEA, check out the Alternative Treatment forum and the Diet and Lifestyle Changes to Boost Fertility forum on

Baby Dust,

Watch as Dr. Helen Kim explains: What is Premature Ovarian Failure?

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