BACKGROUND: Medical induction of ovulation using clomiphene citrate (CC) as first line and exogenous gonadotrophins as second line forms the classical treatment algorithm in normogonadotrophic anovulatory infertility. Because the chances of success following classical ovulation induction are not well established, a shift in first-line therapy can be observed towards alternative treatment. The study aim was to: (i) reliably assess the probability of singleton live birth following classical induction of ovulation; and (ii) construct a prediction model, based on individual patient characteristics assessed upon standardized initial screening, to help identify patients with poor chances of success. METHODS: A total of 240 consecutive women visiting a specialist academic fertility unit with a history of infertility, oligomenorrhoea or amenorrhoea, and normal FSH and estradiol serum concentrations (WHO group 2) was prospectively followed. The women had not been previously treated with ovulation-inducing agents. All patients commenced with CC. Patients who did not ovulate within three treatment cycles of incremental daily doses up to 150 mg for 5 consecutive days or ovulatory CC patients who did not conceive within six cycles, subsequently underwent gonadotrophin induction of ovulation applying a step-down dose regimen. The main outcome measure was pregnancy resulting in singleton live birth. Cox regression was used to construct a multivariable prediction model. RESULTS: Overall, there were 134 pregnancies ending in a singleton live birth (56% of women). The cumulative pregnancy rate after 12 and 24 months of follow-up was 50% and 71% respectively. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients (49%), clearly non-PCOS patients (13%) and the in-between group did not differ in prognosis (P = 0.9). The multivariable Cox regression model contained the woman's age, the insulin:glucose ratio and duration of infertility. With a cut-off value of 30% for low chance, the model predicted probabilities at 12 months lower than this cut-off for 25 out of 240 patients (10.4%). CONCLUSIONS: Classical ovulation induction produces very good results in normogonadotrophic anovulatory infertility. Alternative treatment options may not be indicated as first-line therapy in these patients, except for subgroups with poor prognosis. These women can be identified by older age, longer duration of infertility and higher insulin:glucose ratio.

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Human Reproduction
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Eijkemans, R., Imani, B., Mulders, A., Habbema, D., & Fauser, B. (2003). High singleton live birth rate following classical ovulation induction in normogonadotrophic anovulatory infertility (WHO 2). Human Reproduction, 18(11), 2357–2362. doi:10.1093/humrep/deg459