Study counters long-time practice of prescribing more fertility hormones

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James Ireland (view larger image)

A Michigan State University study has found that too much of a hormone commonly used during in vitro fertility, or IVF, treatments actually decreases a woman’s chances of having a baby.

The research, recently published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, is the largest study to analyze more than 650,000 IVF cycles in women nationwide.

James Ireland, an MSU professor in reproductive physiology and one of the co-authors of the study, has concluded that as the total dose of the hormone known as follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, went up, the live birth rate went down. This finding supports other smaller studies and reverses the traditional thought that the more FSH given during treatment, the better probability of a woman conceiving.

FSH is produced by the pituitary gland. The hormone controls the ovaries in women and testes in men and is essential for reproduction. Doctors use FSH to stimulate as many follicles as possible in a woman’s ovaries to grow, so a large number of eggs can be recovered for IVF.

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