Growth hormone for in vitro fertilization
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BACKGROUND: In an effort to improve outcomes of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) cycles the use of growth hormone (GH) has been considered. Most studies investigate the role of GH in normally ovulating infertile women but there is also an interest in the effect of GH on women who respond poorly to ovulation induction and IVF. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of GH or growth hormone releasing (GRF) adjuvant therapy, primarily in terms of improving livebirth rate, for women undergoing ovulation induction prior to IVF in (a) patients with no previous history of poor response and (b) patients with a history of poor response. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Group's trials register (24 March 2003), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane Library Issue 1, 2003), MEDLINE (1966 to Feb 2003), EMBASE (1988 to Feb 2003) and Biological Abstracts (1969 to Feb 2003). Reference lists of articles were also searched. SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials were included if they addressed the research question and provided outcome data for intervention and control subjects. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Assessment of trial quality and extraction of relevant data was performed independently by two reviewers. Validity was assessed in terms of method of randomisation, completeness of follow-up and co-intervention. MAIN RESULTS: Nine studies (401 couples) were included. Three trials concerned patients with no history of poor response to IVF (91 women) and six investigated previous poor responders (302 women). There was no evidence that routine use of GH affected the outcome of livebirth (3 RCTs; OR 1.17, 95% CI 0.38 to 3.59). In women who had previously responded poorly to IVF there was no significant differences in livebirth when combining trials of GH and GRF (4 RCTs; OR 2.42, 95% CI 0.94 to 6.23). However when trials using GH were analysed separately there was an increase in livebirths (3 RCTs; OR 4.37, 95% CI 1.06 to 18.01). There was no significant differences in any adverse events, but these were poorly and inconsistently reported. REVIEWER'S CONCLUSIONS: Although the use of GH in previous poor responders has been found to show a significant improvement in livebirth rate, this result was only just significant. Also, this data is from just three small trials. Therefore, before recommending GH in IVF further research is necessary to fully define its role. Meanwhile GH should only be considered in the context of a clinical trial.
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