Effects of pretreatment with estrogens on ovarian stimulation with gonadotropins in women with premature ovarian failure: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial

Fertil Steril. 2007 Apr;87(4):858-61. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2006.08.086. Epub 2007 Jan 29.


Objective: To evaluate the hypothesis that pretreatment with estrogens in women affected by premature ovarian failure (POF) may improve the results of ovarian stimulation.

Design: Double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study.

Setting: Outpatient department in an academic research environment.

Patient(s): Fifty women with POF seeking pregnancy.

Intervention(s): Before starting ovarian stimulation, group 1 received 0.05 mg ethinyl-E(2) (EE) three times a day for 2 weeks, while group 2 received placebo. Ovarian stimulation was carried out with recombinant FSH (r-betaFSH), 200 IU/day/SC. Both EE and placebo were administered during ovarian stimulation. Human chorionic gonadotropin (10,000 IU/IM) was added when the follicle exceeded a mean diameter of 18 mm.

Main outcome measure: Rate of ovulation in women with POF.

Result(s): Levels of FSH before stimulation were significantly lower in group 1 than in group 2. The rate of ovulation in group 1 (8/25; 32%) was significantly higher than in group 2 (0/25; 0%). Notably, induction of ovulation was successful only in patients whose FSH levels after EE treatment were < or =15 mIU/mL.

Conclusion(s): Our data suggest that pretreatment with EE improves the success of rate of ovulation induction with exogenous gonadotropins in patients with POF. A threshold of FSH < or =15 mIU/mL should be achieved before starting ovarian stimulation.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Ovary / drug effects*
  • Ovulation Induction*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Rate
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / drug therapy*
  • Primary Ovarian Insufficiency / physiopathology


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • Estradiol
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone