Hi, everyone. One of the hottest topics in IVF treatment right now is the use of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) for patients who respond poorly to controlled ovarian stimulation. Up to 1 in 4 IVF cycles are characterized by poor ovarian response. “Poor responders” as they’re known, suffer from Diminished Ovarian Reserve resulting in fewer oocytes and decreased rates of pregnancy.
So, it’s no wonder that a treatment which increases cumulative pregnancy rates for poor responders would garner so much attention. DHEA, according to some reports, has been very successful in increasing the number and quality of eggs, reducing the risks of miscarriages and shortening the time to pregnancy.
How does it work? Some studies claim that use of DHEA supplementation improves pregnancy chances in women with Diminished Ovarian Reserve (DOR) by reducing aneuploidy—genetic abnormalities in embryos. While we already routinely screen for aneuploidy embryos, having a strategy that produces fewer of them in the first place should certainly help. The response to this new protocol has been dramatic. Already, nearly a quarter of IVF clinics worldwide report using DHEA as an adjuvant treatment in poor responders. A recent study found that supplementing treatment with DHEA not only increases the chances of pregnancy, but also significantly reduces the rate of miscarriages.
Preliminary reports are encouraging. But, more studies, I believe, are warranted. I’d also like to see a little more diversity in the range of publications making pronouncements about DHEA and its efficacy. In the meantime, we’re excited about using DHEA supplementation as one of our IVF strategies. If you’re interested, here’s what you need to know:
- DHEA works best when it’s taken for 3 to 4 months prior to the start of gonadotropins, and should be taken for at least 1 month before starting gonadotropins
- You should start DHEA before you start your IVF cycle
- The recommended dosage is 25 milligrams, three times a day (total of 75 mgs daily)
I know this is a hot topic and that there’s a lot of “buzz” about it. I’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about DHEA and whether it’s right for you. So, feel free to reach out.