Cessation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogue (GnRH-a) upon down-regulation versus conventional long GnRH-a protocol in poor responders undergoing in vitro fertilization
To determine whether a controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) regimen that involves GnRH agonist (GnRH-a) discontinuation before administration of gonadotropins would benefit poor responders. A prospective, randomized controlled trial. Hospital-based IVF Unit. Sixty-three patients with previous poor response to COH and/or high basal FSH level (> or =9 mIU/mL) undergoing 78 IVF-ET cycles. In both groups, administration of GnRH-a was started in the midluteal phase. Whereas in the study group (40 cycles), it ended before administration of gonadotropins, in controls (38 cycles) GnRH-a treatment was continued throughout the follicular phase. Ovarian stimulation patterns and IVF outcome. A significantly higher cancellation rate was noted in the study group than in the controls (22.5% versus 5%, respectively). The new and control regimens resulted in similar stimulation characteristics and clinical pregnancy rates (11% versus 10.3%, respectively). In 13 patients with a basal FSH level that was not persistently high, the new regimen resulted in a significantly higher number of retrieved oocytes compared with the standard protocol (7.6+/-1.03 versus 4.0+/-0.68, respectively). Whereas for most low responders, the new COH regimen offers no further advantage, future prospective studies may demonstrate whether it can confer a benefit for a subset of patients with a basal FSH level that is not persistently high.