Autologous stem cell ovarian transplantation to increase reproductive potential in patients who are poor responders

Fertil Steril. 2018 Aug;110(3):496-505.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2018.04.025. Epub 2018 Jun 28.


Objective: To evaluate effects of autologous stem cell ovarian transplant (ASCOT) on ovarian reserve and IVF outcomes of women who are poor responders with very poor prognosis.

Design: Prospective observational pilot study.

Setting: University hospital.

Patient(s): Seventeen women who are poor responders.

Intervention(s): Ovarian infusion of bone marrow-derived stem cells.

Main outcome measure(s): Serum antimüllerian hormone levels and antral follicular count (AFC), punctured follicles, and oocytes retrieved after stimulation (controlled ovarian stimulation) were measred. Apheresis was analyzed for growth factor concentrations.

Result(s): The ASCOT resulted in a significant improvement in AFC 2 weeks after treatment. With an increase in AFC of three or more follicles and/or two consecutive increases in antimüllerian hormone levels as success criteria, ovarian function improved in 81.3% of women. These positive effects were associated with the presence of fibroblast growth factor-2 and thrombospondin. During controlled ovarian stimulation, ASCOT increased the number of stimulable antral follicles and oocytes, but the embryo euploidy rate was low (16.1%). Five pregnancies were achieved: two after ET, three by natural conception.

Conclusion(s): Our results suggest that ASCOT optimized the mobilization and growth of existing follicles, possibly related to fibroblast growth factor-2 and thrombospondin-1 within apheresis. The ASCOT improved follicle and oocyte quantity enabling pregnancy in women who are poor responders previously limited to oocyte donation.

Clinical trial registration number: NCT02240342.

Keywords: AMH; Poor responder; antral follicular count; bone marrow-derived stem cell transplant; ovarian reserve.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fertilization in Vitro / methods
  • Fertilization in Vitro / trends
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Female / diagnostic imaging
  • Infertility, Female / therapy*
  • Ovarian Reserve / physiology*
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Ovary / physiology*
  • Ovary / transplantation*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / methods*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / trends
  • Transplantation, Autologous
  • Treatment Outcome

Associated data