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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 90-97

Role of testosterone pretreatment in poor ovarian responders undergoing in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic injection in comparison with growth hormone

Institute of Reproductive Medicine and Women's Health, Madras Medical Mission Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Pratibha Vishwakarma
H. No. 1/2641, Street No. 3, Loni Road, Ram Nagar, Shahdara, New Delhi - 110 032
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2348-2907.204667

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Objective: Androgen can play a synergistic role with follicle-stimulating hormone in promoting the early follicular recruitment, which is critical in Assisted Reproduction Technique program. In patients with poor ovarian response (POR) and poor ovarian reserve may benefit from testosterone gel application and growth hormone. This study was done to assess whether poor responders can benefit from androgen therapy before in vitro fertilization/intracytoplasmic sperm injection and from growth hormone. Study Design: It is a prospective pilot study on 35 patients with previous POR and poor ovarian reserve attending IRM, OPD between January 2015 and December 2015 for 1 year. Materials and Methods: Selected women received transdermal therapy of testosterone gel 12.5 mg over the skin of shoulder and upper arm for 21 days from day 7 to day 27 of cycle during oral contraceptive pills if the cycle was not regular and gel treatment before gonadotropin stimulation cycle for next one cycle. Hormone assessment (total testosterone, sex hormone-binding globulins, and androstenedione level) was done at the beginning and at the end of the gel application. Ovarian stimulation with fixed antagonist protocol was used. The primary outcome is improvement in antral follicle count (AFC), the total number of oocyte retrieved, number of mature oocytes, and good quality of embryos. In this study, implantation rate and clinical pregnancy rate were also assessed. If patient did not respond to testosterone gel, growth hormone was used in next cycle with gonadotropins and same parameters were used. Results: In this study, we found that two drugs are comparable in terms of clinical pregnancy rate, ongoing pregnancy rate, and live-birth rate. We found that number of cryopreserved embryos and cumulative pregnancy rate are more in testosterone group. Fertilization rate and cleavage arrest were similar in both groups. Cancellation rate was less, and duration of gonadotropins treatment was more in testosterone-only group. Significantly increased androstenedione level was seen in improved cycles of testosterone gel treatment. Out of 35 patients with testosterone gel treatment, in 42.9% cases, AFC improved. Conclusion: Testosterone gel treatment is useful in patients with poor ovarian reserve or poor ovarian responders in terms of improving AFC, more number of oocytes, increased number of embryos and increased number of cryopreserved embryos, and hence cumulative pregnancy rate. Growth hormone had equivalent results with testosterone gel with less number but good-quality oocytes and embryos. This is a pilot study, including a small number of patients; hence, further randomized trials are needed before using expensive and injectable drug, i.e., growth hormone in poor responders.

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