Endocrinological insights into differentin vitrofertilization treatment aspects

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The science of reproductive endocrinology/in vitro fertilization (IVF) has moved forward considerably since the first IVF baby was born in 1978. IVF was originally indicated for women with tubal factor infertility, but it has now become the treatment for couples with unexplained subfertility, male subfertility, cervical factor, failed ovulation induction, endometriosis or unilateral tubal pathology. IVF was initially performed with the single dominant ovarian follicle produced during a spontaneous menstrual cycle. This was very inefficient and pregnancy rates were dismal. Consequently, superovulation protocols using parenteral gonadotrophins to induce maturation of multiple follicles were soon adopted worldwide. In addition, any supernumerary embryos remaining after embryo transfer may be cryopreserved for future embryo transfers without the need for another fresh IVF cycle. A greater understanding of IVF endocrinology has led to improved IVF pregnancy outcomes and satisfaction for the anxious parents. However, with the greater success of IVF treatment, new complications associated with the treatment arise, namely the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Ovarian hyperstimulation can be associated with severe morbidity and may be even fatal. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is an iatrogenic condition secondary to medical stimulation of the ovary, and was virtually unknown until IVF treatment was initiated. This article will discuss the recent developments in IVF treatment endocrinology and protocols, as well as prevention/treatment of its complications.

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