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Follicle-Stimulating Hormone: Beyond Fertility

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Front. Endocrinol. | doi: 10.3389/fendo.2019.00181

Individualization of FSH doses in assisted reproduction: facts and fiction

  • 1University Medical Center Utrecht, Netherlands

The art of ovarian stimulation for IVF/ICSI treatment using exogenous FSH should be balanced against the relative contribution of other steps of the ART process such as the IVF-lab-phase and the Embryo-Transfer. The aim of ovarian stimulation is to obtain a certain number of oocytes, that will enable the best probability of achieving a live birth. It has been suggested that more oocytes will create a better prospect for pregnancy, but studies on the question whether the retrieval of a few oocytes less or more will make the difference are not clearly supportive for this mantra.
Personalization strategies have been the subject of many studies over the past 20 years. Creating the optimal response in a patient in terms of live birth prognosis as well as OHSS risks may be based on information from the Ovarian Reserve testing using the Antral Follicle Count or Anti-Mullerian Hormone, the patient’s bodyweight, the ovarian response in a previous cycle and the dosage level of FSH. Taken together, steering the ovarian response into a supposed optimal range may appear difficult as the interrelation for each of these factors with the egg number is weak.
Using OR testing for choosing FSH dosage, compared to a standard normal dosage of 150 IU, has been studied in several trials. Dosage individualization, in general, does not appear to improve the prospects for live birth, but the reduction in OHSS risk may be substantial. This implies that the use of high dosages of FSH in predicted LOW responders lacks any cost-benefit for the patient and may be abandoned, while in predicted HIGH responders, reduction of the usual dosage level of 150 IU may create better safety, provided that in case of an unexpected LOW response cancellation of the cycle is refrained from. In view of recent developments in using GnRH agonist triggering of final oocyte maturation, the trend could be that with the Antagonist co-medication system and a standard dosage of 150 IU of FSH, prior ovarian reserve testing may become futile, as safety can be managed well in actual HIGH responders by replacing the high dose hCG trigger.

Keywords: FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), ovarian response,, oocyte quality and quantity., ovarian stimulation, Live Birth, dosage individualization, Ovarian reserve testing, OHSS

Received: 01 Nov 2018; Accepted: 04 Mar 2019.

Edited by:

Livio Casarini, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy

Reviewed by:

Antonio La Marca, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Verena Nordhoff, University of Münster, Germany  

Copyright: © 2019 Broekmans. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Frank Broekmans, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands, F.Broekmans@umcutrecht.nl