This prospective, randomized trial in normo-ovulatory women was designed to test whether administration of low-dose exogenous FSH initiated during the early, mid to late follicular phase can induce multiple dominant follicle development. Forty normal weight women (age 19-35 years, cycle length 25-32 days) participated. A fixed dose (75 IU/day) of recombinant FSH was started on either cycle day 3 (n = 13), 5 (n = 13) or 7 (n = 14) until the induction of ovulation with human chorionic gonadotrophin. Frequent transvaginal ultrasound scans and blood sampling were performed. Multifollicular growth occurred in all groups (overall in 60%), although day 7 starters showed less multifollicular growth. Age, cycle length and initial FSH and inhibin B concentrations were similar between subjects with single or multiple follicle development. However, for all women the lower the body mass index (BMI), the more follicles emerged (r = -0.44, P = 0.007). If multifollicular growth occurred, the length of the luteal phase was reduced (P = 0.002) and midluteal serum concentrations of LH (P = 0.03) and FSH (P = 0.004) were decreased and oestradiol (P = 0.002) and inhibin A (P = 0.01) were increased. In conclusion, interference with decremental serum FSH concentrations by administration of low dose FSH starting on cycle day 3, 5 or as late as day 7, is capable of disrupting single dominant follicle selection. The role of BMI in determining ovarian response suggests that differences in pharmacokinetics of exogenous FSH are involved. Multifollicular growth per se has a distinct effect on luteal phase characteristics. These observations may be relevant for the design of mild ovarian stimulation protocols.

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Human Reproduction
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hohmann, F.P, Laven, J.S.E, de Jong, F.H, Eijkemans, M.J.C, & Fauser, B.C.J.M. (2001). Low-dose exogenous FSH initiated during the early, mid or late follicular phase can induce multiple dominant follicle development. Human Reproduction. Retrieved from