Taking the natural anti-aging hormone DHEA alongside infertility treatments such as IVF has previously been shown to give a remarkable boost to success rates - especially in women who have little chance of succeeding. In a new study the supplement was given alongside treatment to induce ovulation (not IVF) and continued for 5 months. For the first time DHEA demonstrated it's ability to increase live birth rates.
Tel Aviv University researchers found that women who took 75 mg of DHEA for 40 days before their fertility treatments began were three times more likely to become pregnant than similar women without DHEA. The study was performed on 20 women aged 37 - 42 who had a history of poor quality ovulation.
DHEA had a positive effect upon the pregnancy too with all the DHEA group having healthy deliveries. The women taking DHEA had a 23 percent take-home-baby rate compared to 4 percent in the women who did not receive the natural hormone which is a very good success rate for this age group.
Professor Shulman, the lead researcher stated that "We recommend that women try this DHEA treatment, in conjunction with fertility treatments, for four to five months," but also cautions that you should consult your physician first. Further studies are planned to understand further how DHEA makes such a difference - "we need to look into what the drug actually does to make the body more fertile....it could be affecting components such as the quality of the eggs or the follicles."
In a previous study on IVF 25 women all with poor ovarian reserve were given two identical IVF cycles, one IVF cycle without - and one with DHEA supplementation. DHEA was given for approximately 4 months at 75 mg per day (25 mg three times a day) prior to and during IVF ovarian stimulation. The women in this study had day-3 FSH levels ranging form 3 to 20.
When the results were analyzed, the DHEA supplemented IVF cycles produced significantly more fertilized oocytes, more normal day 3 embryos and more good quality embryos. The study concluded that "this study confirms the previously reported beneficial effects of DHEA supplementation on ovarian function in women with diminished ovarian reserve."
In a smaller study of just five poor responder patients 80 mg of DHEA was given for two months and continued during ovarian stimulation. Peak estradiol levels were significantly higher in the DHEA / IVF cycles and one of the women gave birth to twins. The study concluded that "supplemental DHEA treatment during ovarian stimulation may represent a novel way to maximize ovarian response."
DHEA is available as an over the counter supplement in the USA without a prescription. If you are pursuing fertility treatments and are suspected of having poor egg quality, DHEA may tip the odds in your favor.
This article is for purely educational and informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute fore medical diagnosis and advice for which you should consult a physician.
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July 25 2010, Daily Express, UK, 'ANTI-AGEING HORMONE PILL BOOSTS PREGNANCY'
Effect of dehydroepiandrostenone on oocyte and embryo yields, embryo grade and cell numbers in IVF. Human Reproduction. Vol. 21, Issue 11, Pp. 2845-2849. Barad and Gleicher.
Dehydroepiandrosterone supplementation augments ovarian stimulation in poor responders: a case series. Hum Reprod 2000;15:2129-2132. Casson et al.