DHEA also known as Dehydroepiandrosterone has been used in IVF in the hope that it will enhance follicle growth and egg development in women with a prior poor response to the gonadotropins (FSH and LH) used in IVF for ovarian stimulation. Is DHEA in IVF helpful? Some IVF centers not only encourage the use of DHEA but even sell these supplements in their practice in the belief that it will improve the ovarian response by increasing egg yield and embryo quality leading to higher pregnancy rates and reduced miscarriage rates following IVF and embryo transfer. Most studies to date looking at the effects of DHEA on IVF outcome were based on retrospective or observational data and the results were not free from bias. A recent prospective randomized trial comparing DHEA to a placebo published in Fertility and Sterility (FertilSteril 2014;102:108-15) found no significant improvement in the ovarian response in poor responders who received 12 weeks of DHEA supplementation before the start of IVF treatment compared to those who received a placebo. Therefore, DHEA is not helpful in improving the ovarian response to gonadotropins in women having IVF.
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