DHEA & Fertility

Side Effects

Like any hormonal treatment, DHEA can have both positive and negative side effects. During the time CHR has been working with DHEA, we have carefully monitored the side effects of DHEA, and have been impressed by how rarely even the most common side effects seem to occur. We often hear from patients how much better DHEA supplementation makes them feel overall, which is likely explained by increased androgensandrogens levels in patients with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR).

Side Benefits of DHEA

  • Improved overall feeling
  • Feelings of improved physical strength, mental acuity, and memory
  • Improved sex drive

Negative Side Effects of DHEA

Negative side effects of DHEA are possible but rare, and it is important to note that side effects should disappear when DHEA treatment is stopped. These include:

  • Oily skin
  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • Stomach upset

One of the benefits of DHEA supplementation is the relative lack of serious side effects, compared to direct testosterone supplementation. Since CHR investigators have identified that DHEA works through conversion into testosteronetestosterone and via androgen receptors on small folliclesfollicles , it may be tempting to think that one should simply use testosterone to raise the androgen levels within the ovary. However, DHEA supplementation lets the body adjust the testosterone levels in various organs so that each organ—including the ovary—has just the right amount of testosterone (rather than flooding all the organs with a high, potentially damaging, level of testosterone). This is one of the reasons why CHR uses DHEA supplementation, not direct testosterone supplementation, for women with DOR preparing for IVF cycles.

Read more about DHEA Treatment

infertility physician

Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned reproductive endocrinologist, 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.

Follow Dr. Norbert Gleicher on Google+ Center for Human Reproduction: Follow us on Google+. IVF center with best fertility options for each infertility patient. or LinkedIn Center for Human Reproduction: Follow us on Google+. IVF center with best fertility options for each infertility patient.

Last Updated: October 8, 2018

Additional Resources

Female Sexual Wellbeing in Pre-menopausal Women: A New Indi... CONFLICT STATEMENT: Readers of this article should be aware that CHR and CHR investigators have applied for an U.S. patent,


What are the side effects of DHEA? DHEA has few serious side effects Already a number of years ago, a worldwide survey of IVF centers revealed that

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1/3 of women who have been told they need egg donation actually wind up conceiving at the CHR with their own eggs.