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Clinical and endocrine responses to ovarian hyperstimulation in flare and and luteal gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa) protocols Nguyen, Tuan-Anh T


Background: Due to the “flare effect” associated with the flare protocol, variation in the degree of follicular maturation during stimulation may result in differences in follicle response as compared to the luteal protocol which is based on maximal pituitary suppression and synchronization of follicular maturation. In this study, besides other methods, Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH), a novel marker for ovarian reserve, was used as a tool to evaluate the ovarian responsiveness to stimulation. Methods: Women undergoing IVF/ICSI treatment in the UBC IVF Program from January to December 2006 using luteal and flare protocols were retrospectively selected for a total of 40 treatment cycles, 20 cycles in each protocol matched by age, weight, and indication for IVF/ICSI. Serial serum Estradiol (E₂) levels and follicle data were obtained from the clinic chart. Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), Luteinizing Hormone (LH), progesterone (P), androstenedione (D₄) and AMH levels were measured from aliquots of frozen serum samples. Hormone responses were evaluated by Area Under the Curve (AUC). Data were analyzed using the t-test and statistical significance was considered present at P<0.05. Results are reported as the mean ± SEM. Results: For flare versus luteal protocol, there was a significant difference in the number of total follicles (14.5 ± 1.8 vs 21.3 ± 2.3), medium follicles (3.7 ± 0.6 vs 8.4 ± 1.3), eggs retrieved (8 ± 0.8 vs 14 ± 1.4) and oocytes fertilized (4.4 ± 0.5 vs 8.4 ± 0.7), AMH AUC (62 ± 12 vs 111 ± 13), LH AUC (67 ± 21 vs 20 ± 9), FSH AUC (171 ± 59 vs 112 ± 29), respectively. Mean number of embryos transferred in both groups was similar. Number of pregnancies conceived (5 for flare and 10 for luteal protocol) was not significantly different. Although E₂ AUC in luteal protocol was higher than that in flare protocol, the difference was not statistically significant (28,339 ± 2,669 vs 26,905 ± 2,790). Differences in P and D₄ AUC between the two protocols were not statistically significant. Correlations with ovarian follicles and eggs retrieved were better for AMH than E₂. Conclusions: The luteal protocol exhibited a better ovarian response to stimulation as compared to the flare protocol. As compared to E₂, AMH had a better correlation with the number of follicles and eggs retrieved.

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