Corticosteroids in patients with antiovarian antibodies undergoing in vitro fertilization: a prospective pilot study

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;62(9):699-705. doi: 10.1007/s00228-006-0169-0. Epub 2006 Jul 18.


Objective: Antiovarian autoantibodies (AOA) have been associated with reproductive failure, especially in in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients. Thus, the success rate of IVF might be improved by the use of corticosteroids. However, therapeutic trials with these drugs have yielded conflicting results, particularly because of heterogeneous inclusion criteria. Among women with previous IVF failure, we selected those who presented with a positive serum AOA assay, and analysed the efficacy of corticosteroids in improving the IVF outcome in these patients.

Methods: One hundred patients with serum AOA detected by ELISA and at least two previously failed IVF attempts were selected. These patients underwent a further IVF cycle with 0.5 mg/kg prednisolone, started on the first day of the treatment cycle. In patients who became pregnant, corticosteroids were administered until the end of the first trimester of pregnancy and then progressively discontinued. AOA were assessed before and after oocyte retrieval. Clinical data of the corticosteroid-treated cycle were compared with data from the preceding IVF cycle for each patient.

Results: No adverse effects resulting from corticosteroids were observed. Post oocyte retrieval antiovarian IgG were significantly lower in corticosteroid-treated attempts when compared with the preceding cycles. Twenty-six pregnancies resulted in the birth of 30 healthy children. The pregnancy rate, implantation rate, and live birth rate were 38.8%, 17.8%, and 26.5% respectively in prednisolone-treated cycles.

Conclusion: This study confirms the usefulness of corticosteroids in improving the success rate in a subset of patients with previous IVF failure and significant serum AOA levels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Autoantibodies / blood*
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Ovary / immunology*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Autoantibodies