Observational retrospective study of US national utilisation patterns and live birth rates for various ovarian stimulation protocols for in vitro fertilisation.

In older women, alternative IVF protocols have much lower live birth rates than conventional IVF.

Published in BMJ Open

OBJECTIVE: Alternative ovarian stimulation protocols for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) have grown in popularity. Yet, patient populations best suited for these protocols have not been defined. Our objective was, therefore, to determine national IVF utilisation patterns and live birth rates of various ovarian stimulation protocols.

DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study.

SETTING: Academic-affiliated private fertility centre.

PARTICIPANTS: Aggregate data published by Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology for autologous IVF cycles performed in the USA during 2014 and 2015 were analysed. IVF cycles were stratified based on ovarian stimulation protocol: 205 705 conventional stimulations, 4397 minimal stimulations, 2785 natural cycles and 514 in vitro maturation (IVM) cycles. Repeat cycles could not be determined in this analysis.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Utilisation patterns and age-specific live birth rates for various ovarian stimulation protocols.

RESULTS: With advancing female age, utilisation of conventional stimulation protocols decreased, while minimal stimulation and natural cycle IVF increased. Diminished ovarian reserve diagnoses were in all age groups less prevalent in patients undergoing conventional stimulation than with all other protocols. Live birth rates were highest with conventional stimulation at 42.4%, 33.1%, 22.1%, 11.7% and 3.9% for <35, 35-37, 38-40, 41-42 and >42 female age groups, respectively. The difference in live birth rates between conventional stimulation and other protocols widened with advancing age from 1.6-fold to 3.9-fold among women <35 years of age, reaching 4.4-fold to 6.6-fold among women >42 years of age.

CONCLUSIONS: In comparison to conventional stimulation IVF-minimal stimulation, natural cycle IVF and IVM protocols offer lower but still acceptable live birth rates among young women. These alternative protocols are frequently used in older women and those with diminished ovarian reserve, despite their lower live birth rates. The reasons for this apparent incongruity warrant further careful exploration.

Citation Page #: 8(11):e023124.

Journal: BMJ Open

Author Publication: Kushnir VA, Darmon SK, Barad DH, Gleicher N

Publication Link:

Date: 2018

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned specialist in reproductive endocrinology, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.

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