Purpose: To investigate a possible influence of repetitive micro-traumata on the ovaries in the course of oocyte retrieval during IVF/ICSI treatment on serum anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) levels.
Methods: The study included retrospectively collected data from women who underwent three or more consecutive IVF/ICSI treatments between 2007 and 2017. The primary endpoint of the study was to evaluate changes in serum AMH levels on cycle days 1-3 during the course of repetitive IVF/ICSI treatments.
Results: A total of 125 patients were included in this study. Median AMH levels before the first, second and third IVF/ICSI cycles were 3.8 ng/mL (IQR 1.8-7.1), 3.3 ng/mL (IQR 1.8-6.1) and 3.0 ng/mL (IQR 1.6-5.3), respectively (p = n.s.). In patients who underwent IVF/ICSI due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), we found a significant decrease in AMH serum levels between the first [AMH 9.7 ng/mL (IQR 7.4-14.4)] and the third [AMH 5.3 ng/mL (IQR 3.3-10.4)] IVF/ICSI cycles (p = 0.026). When performing a generalized linear model, we found PCOS to be an independent predictor for serum AMH decrease during the course of three oocyte retrievals (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: When comparing the indications for IVF/ICSI, we observed a significant decrease in AMH serum levels after repetitive oocyte retrievals only in women with PCOS, while the decrease in AMH was not significant in patients with tubal factor, endometriosis, male factor and unexplained infertility. This finding leads us to hypothesize that repetitive micro-traumata on the ovarian cortex might diminish/normalize functional ovarian reserve in women with PCOS. Further prospective studies are highly warranted to allow firm conclusions.
Keywords: Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH); Follicular puncture; IVF/ICSI; Oocyte retrieval; Ovarian reserve.