Does the degree of hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian recovery after oral contraceptive pills affect outcomes of IVF/ICSI cycles receiving GnRH-antagonist adjuvant therapy in women over 35 years of age?

J Assist Reprod Genet. 2012 Sep;29(9):877-82. doi: 10.1007/s10815-012-9812-0. Epub 2012 Jun 23.


Purpose: To evaluate if the degree of recovery of serum gonadotropins after oral contraceptive pills (OCP) pretreatment has an impact on ovarian response in GnRH-antagonist IVF cycles in women of advanced maternal age.

Methods: In this retrospective cohort study, we included 98 women 35-42 years undergoing their first IVF cycle receiving gonadotropins and a fixed GnRH-antagonist adjuvant protocol. Data analysis was carried out according to changes in serum FSH, LH and estradiol (E(2)) levels (basal and post-OCP) divided in quartiles, and also according to absolute levels. The main outcomes were peak serum E(2), number of mature oocytes retrieved, length of stimulation, and amount of gonadotropins used.

Results: By quartile analysis, patients with the highest levels of serum gonadotropins suppression and also patients with gonadotropin rebound needed larger amounts of LH during the treatment. On the other hand, women with absolute suppression of FSH/LH had increased length of stimulation.

Conclusions: The results of this study provide data that assist in clinical management. Gonadotropin serum levels after OCP treatment provide information for optimization of supplementation with LH in GnRH-antagonist cycles in women over age 35.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Contraceptives, Oral / administration & dosage
  • Contraceptives, Oral / pharmacology*
  • Embryo Transfer / methods
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods*
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / administration & dosage
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / blood
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone / pharmacology
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Infertility, Female / drug therapy
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood
  • Oocyte Retrieval / methods
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovulation Induction / methods
  • Pituitary Gland / drug effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sperm Injections, Intracytoplasmic / methods*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Estradiol
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone