Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) supplementation might hold some promise in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer cycles. However, the results remain controversial. We conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of DHEA in patients for in vitro fertilization. PubMed, EMbase, Web of science, EBSCO and Cochrane library databases were systematically searched. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) assessing the effect of DHEA versus placebo on in vitro fertilization were included. Two investigators independently searched articles, extracted data and assessed the quality of included studies. The primary outcomes were clinical pregnancy and live birth rate. Meta-analysis was performed using random-effect model. Six RCTs involving 745 patients were included in the meta-analysis. Overall, compared with placebo, DHEA supplementation was associated with the significant increase in clinical pregnancy (OR = 1.45; 95% CI = 1.04-2.03; p = .03), live birth rate (OR = 2.70; 95% CI = 1.24-5.85; p = .01) and endometrial thickness (Std. mean difference = 0.67; 95% CI = 0.02-1.32; p = .04) but showed no influence on E2 on hCG day (Std. mean difference = 0.69; 95% CI = -0.46 to 1.85; p = .24), embryos transferred (Std. mean difference = 0.42; 95% CI = -0.04 to 0.88; p = .07) and miscarriage rate (OR = 0.43; 95% CI = 0.03-6.66; p = .55). DHEA supplementation could significantly improve clinical pregnancy, live birth rate, endometrial thickness and retrieved oocytes but failed to alter E2 on hCG day, embryos transferred and miscarriage rate.
Keywords: Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA); efficacy; embryo transfer cycles; in vitro fertilization; meta-analysis.