ESHRE consensus on the definition of 'poor response' to ovarian stimulation for in vitro fertilization: the Bologna criteria

Hum Reprod. 2011 Jul;26(7):1616-24. doi: 10.1093/humrep/der092. Epub 2011 Apr 19.


The definition presented here represents the first realistic attempt by the scientific community to standardize the definition of poor ovarian response (POR) in a simple and reproducible manner. POR to ovarian stimulation usually indicates a reduction in follicular response, resulting in a reduced number of retrieved oocytes. It has been recognized that, in order to define the poor response in IVF, at least two of the following three features must be present: (i) advanced maternal age or any other risk factor for POR; (ii) a previous POR; and (iii) an abnormal ovarian reserve test (ORT). Two episodes of POR after maximal stimulation are sufficient to define a patient as poor responder in the absence of advanced maternal age or abnormal ORT. By definition, the term POR refers to the ovarian response, and therefore, one stimulated cycle is considered essential for the diagnosis of POR. However, patients of advanced age with an abnormal ORT may be classified as poor responders since both advanced age and an abnormal ORT may indicate reduced ovarian reserve and act as a surrogate of ovarian stimulation cycle outcome. In this case, the patients should be more properly defined as 'expected poor responder'. If this definition of POR is uniformly adapted as the 'minimal' criteria needed to select patients for future clinical trials, more homogeneous populations will be tested for any new protocols. Finally, by reducing bias caused by spurious POR definitions, it will be possible to compare results and to draw reliable conclusions.

MeSH terms

  • Europe
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro*
  • Humans
  • Maternal Age
  • Ovary / drug effects*
  • Ovulation Induction*
  • Reproductive Medicine*
  • Risk Factors
  • Societies, Medical
  • Terminology as Topic*