Growth Hormone's Use as an Adjunct to IVF

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Infertility topics explained by Brian Acacio, M.D.. 
Acacio Fertility Center, southern California.  (949)249-9200 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (949)249-9200 end_of_the_skype_highlighting


"Patients have asked about Growth Hormones and its usefulness in IVF."

About 10 years ago there were 1-2 small studies that showed a potential benefit of adding Human Growth Hormone (HGH) to older, low responder IVF patients. We all jumped on the bandwagon and Growth Hormone’s (GH) usage was quite popular for a year or 2. I tried it in probably 5 or 6 cases, but personally did not see any advantage. Given the high cost and uncertainty of GH’s benefit, it slowly fell out of favor.

Recently, the Cochrane database published a review of 6 randomized studies which did show an improvement in live births in previous poor responders, it was only just significant and this was from only 3 small studies. The authors state that GH should only be considered in the context of a clinical trial.

Another study published in 2005 (Tesarik J, et al:Hum Reprod) randomized 100 women >40yo with prior IVF failures to either placebo or 8 units of GH SQ daily from day 7 of stim to egg retrieval. The duration of stimulation (cost of meds) was the same, the number of eggs and embryos was the same, and the pregnancy rates were the same. However, the GH group did have fewer losses and hence more live births compared to the placebo group. I’ve tried it in a few women and have not found it to decrease miscarriages, and, yet, I remain open to its usage.

I do not believe Growth Hormone to be the “Fountain of Youth”, but like Ponce De Leon I will keep searching…



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