Does Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) improve IVF outcomes in poor responders?

June 6, 2018

DHEA Study

Some women requiring assisted conception are classed as poor responders either by virtue of their age, co-existing medical conditions or past experience. Poor response is often associated with a poor outcome regarding pregnancy rates.

This study aims to investigate whether Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) improves clinical pregnancy rates in poor responders during assisted conception as there have been several claims about its beneficial effects such as improving ovarian reserve, the number of eggs retrieved, quality of embryos and pregnancy rates. In America, DHEA is available over the counter as a food supplement. It is not licensed for fertility treatment in the UK but it is known to be safe.

Unfortunately, none of the claims about the beneficial effects of DHEA come from robust research/clinical evidence. All the ongoing academic debate regarding the use of DHEA in assisted conception call for well conducted research with appropriate patient numbers to provide the best evidence to confirm or refute these allegations and guide its usage. Our proposed study will hopefully provide such evidence.

This is a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled multi-center study involving 400 patients meeting inclusion criteria. The two groups receive either 75mg oral DHEA or a placebo daily for ten weeks prior to controlled ovarian hyperstimulation. Cycle outcome data is collected.

The Chief Investigator is Prof Roy Homburg at Homerton Fertility Centre, London. Oxford Fertility is one of five UK participating sites.

https://ukctg.nihr.ac.uk/trials/trial-details/trial-details?trialNumber=ISRCTN78447218

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