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DHEA Produced 6 Fold Increase in IVF Success Rate

Catherine McDiarmid-Watt | Friday, December 22, 2017 | 0 comments

Image: Ultrasound, by Tomasz Kobosz on FreeImages
Ultrasound, by Tomasz Kobosz
A recent study* has shown that adding the hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) to the treatment regimen of patients with poor ovarian reserve may increase pregnancy rates.

Dr. Natalie Burger, a physician at Texas Fertility Center, has recently begun implementing this supplement on a trial basis.

We are excited that a relatively inexpensive option such as DHEA has the potential to help our patients conceive, Dr. Burger explained.

We are excited that a relatively inexpensive option such as DHEA has the potential to help our patients conceive, Dr. Burger explained.

The hormone DHEA naturally occurs in the body and is known to help improve cognitive skills as people age and to slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. DHEA can also help improve strength and muscle mass in athletes. DHEA may also have another benefit for women trying to get pregnant.

According to the research, 33 women with significantly low ovarian reserves were enrolled in the study; 17 received 75 mg of DHEA once daily before starting their IVF cycles. The medication was continued during the treatment phase. The patients who received DHEA had a 23 percent live birth rate, compared with a 4 percent live birth rate for patients in the control group.

In this small trial, DHEA seemed to have a positive impact on the IVF success rate for a group of women who were predicted to have a very low success rate, stated Dr. Burger. Larger studies are needed to determine which fertility patients may benefit from DHEA supplementation and if there are any downsides.

Because DHEA is cost-effective and readily available at most pharmacies, it may provide another treatment option for fertility patients. Unlike many fertility medications, DHEA does not appear to increase the risk of multiples.

Dr. Burger recommends that fertility patients discuss this option with their reproductive endocrinologists.

Talk with your physician about whether adding DHEA to your treatment regiment could produce the desired outcome. Before recommending DHEA, your doctor should analyze your history and complete a thorough fertility evaluation.

About Texas Fertility Center
Texas Fertility Center (TFC), one of the nation's leading full-service infertility practices, provides advanced Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology services to patients throughout Texas, the Southwestern United States, and the Americas. Since 1980, TFC has been recognized nationally for outstanding pregnancy rates, cutting-edge laboratory procedures, and innovative research programs. For more information, please visit

Source: *Wiser A, Gonen O, Ghetler Y, Shavit T, Berkovitz A, Shulman A. Addition of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) for poor-responder patients before and during IVF treatment improves the pregnancy rate: a randomized prospective study. Hum Reprod. 2010;25:2496–2500.

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About Catherine: I am mom to three grown sons, two grandchildren and two rescue dogs. After years of raising my boys as a single mom, I remarried a wonderful man who had never had a child of his own. Unexpectedly, I found myself pregnant at 49!
Sadly we lost that precious baby at 8 weeks, and decided to try again. Five more losses, turned down for donor egg, foster care and adoption due to my age and losses - we have accepted that there will be no more babies in our house.

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