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Some Oral Contraceptives May Reduce Pregnancy Chances in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), According to New Research by CHR

New York, NY (PRWEB) May 06, 2013

Some oral contraceptives with stronger androgenic characteristics may reduce pregnancy chances with IVF, reports a new study conducted by the Center for Human Reproduction (CHR), a research-driven fertility center in New York City.

The study, just published in Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology(1), investigated 43 young oocyte (egg) donors, some of whom were taking various forms of oral contraceptives. According to the study, donors who took contraceptives with stronger androgenic characteristics before their treatment cycles had significantly lower number of eggs retrieved after ovarian stimulation. Donors who took androgenic contraceptives developed 11 eggs on average, while those with no contraceptives had 16, and those using anti-androgenic contraceptives had 19.

Because oral contraceptives suppress secretion of gonadotropins from the pituitary, hormonal contraceptive use may lead to suppression of ovarian function, interrupting the normal development of eggs in the ovaries. Lower egg yields after ovarian stimulation is also likely to result in lower IVF pregnancy rates.

“Many fertility centers routinely use oral contraceptives in preparatory stages of IVF cycles,” says David H. Barad, MD, MS, Director of Clinical ART and Senior Scientist at CHR, who is the lead author of the study. “Our results show that this routine use of oral contraceptives before IVF may have a negative impact on oocyte numbers, and may require rethinking on the part of treating physicians.

In the study, some hormonal contraceptives’ negative effects on oocyte yields were apparent even in young oocyte donors with normal ovarian reserve. “These negative effects on IVF outcomes may be even greater in women with diminished ovarian reserve,” cautions Dr. Barad, “who already produce only a small number of eggs under the best of circumstances.”

The study is the first to report on the potentially negative effects of at least some hormonal contraceptives on IVF outcomes. Larger studies are needed to determine whether use of some forms of oral contraceptives should be avoided in the context of fertility treatments.

(1)Barad DH, Kim A, Kubba H, Weghofer A and Gleicher N. Does hormonal contraception prior to in vitro fertilization (IVF) negatively affect oocyte yields? – A pilot study. Reprod Biol Endocrinol 2013;11:28.

About Center for Human Reproduction
The Center for Human Reproduction (, located in New York City, is one of the world’s leading fertility centers. As "fertility center of last resort,” CHR has treated countless women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), whether due to advanced age or premature ovarian aging (POA). To serve its patient population, Dr. Barad is available for further comments.

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