Assisted reproduction in the treatment of polycystic ovarian syndrome

Reprod Biomed Online. 2004 Apr;8(4):419-30. doi: 10.1016/s1472-6483(10)60926-1.


Treatment of patients with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) with assisted reproductive techniques is a great challenge for the infertility specialist. Patients with PCOS demonstrate many problems, such as excessive body weight and hyperinsulinaemia, that render management more complex. Prior to treatment with IVF, the PCOS patient should be thoroughly evaluated for disclosure of endometrial neoplasia, hyperinsulinaemia, and other general health related problems. Ovarian stimulation for IVF carries the risks of overstimulation and severe hyperstimulation, which should be avoidable in most cases with preventive measures. The outcome in terms of pregnancy and implantation rates is similar for patients with PCOS when compared with patients undergoing IVF for other indications. There are some questions regarding oocyte and embryo quality in women with PCOS. This manifests itself in lower fertilization rate and decreased embryo quality in some studies. However, increased numbers of oocytes available for insemination or ICSI compensate for decreased fertilization rates and embryo quality. More recent studies suggest higher cumulative conception rates in women with PCOS when compared with controls. In-vitro maturation (IVM) of oocytes retrieved from non-stimulated or minimally stimulated cycles represents a viable option that should be considered seriously when assisted conception is attempted. Results of IVM, however, should be improved further and generalized before the technique can be advocated as the initial treatment approach in these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cellular Senescence
  • Embryo Implantation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Infertility, Female / etiology*
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Oocytes
  • Ovulation Induction
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / complications*
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*
  • Treatment Outcome