Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) are widely used in in-vitro fertilization (IVF) for the prevention of a premature rise in luteinizing hormone (LH) concentrations. However, the administration of GnRHa during the follicular phase may also impair subsequent luteal function due to retarded recovery of pituitary gonadotrophin secretion. Therefore, luteal supplementation is generally applied. The present study was designed to determine whether a premature LH surge would still be prevented after early cessation of GnRHa during ovarian stimulation and whether subsequent luteal phase LH production would be sufficient to support progesterone synthesis by the corpus luteum. Sixty patients were randomized for three groups: (i) A long GnRHa/human menopausal gonadotrophin (HMG) protocol with luteal support by repeated human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) (n = 20), (ii) early follicular phase cessation of GnRHa without luteal support (n = 20), and (iii) a long GnRHa protocol without luteal support (n = 20). Frequent ultrasound and blood sampling was performed during the entire IVF cycle. Forty normo-ovulatory women served as controls. No premature LH surges were found after early cessation of GnRHa. In this group, some pituitary recovery occurred during the late luteal phase, but this did not affect corpus luteum function. Progesterone concentrations were shown to be dependent on disappearance of the pre-ovulatory bolus of HCG. Pregnancies occurred in all three groups. In conclusion, early follicular phase cessation of GnRHa is still effective in the prevention of a premature rise in LH. Although some pituitary recovery was observed thereafter, corpus luteum function is still abnormal due to early luteolysis.

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Human Reproduction
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Laven, J.S.E, Eijkemans, M.J.C, Fauser, B.C.J.M, & Beckers, N.G.M. (2000). Follicular and luteal phase characteristics following early cessation of gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonist during ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization. Human Reproduction. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/9220