Purpose: The use of highly purified follicle-stimulating hormone (Metrodin-HP) was compared with that of a preparation containing follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone (Pergonal) for production of superovulation in an IVF program.
Methods: We used the Oxford Fertility Unit database to identify patients undergoing their first cycle of IVF, using either Metrodin-HP or Pergonal. Patients were treated with a standardized drug protocol and were stratified by age and cause of infertility. Ovarian stimulation with either Metrodin-HP (Serono Laboratories) or human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG; Pergonal; Serono Laboratories) after pituitary desensitization commenced in the midluteal phase of the preceding cycle. Monitoring was performed by ultrasound and serum estradiol measurement prior to transvaginal oocyte recovery, followed by IVF and transfer of no more than three embryos.
Results: For Metrodin-HP versus Pergonal, the rates of egg retrieval (98 vs 94%), fertilization (89 vs 92%), clinical pregnancy (32.9 vs 23.4%), miscarriage (4.1 vs 4.5%), live birth (26 vs 18.5%), and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (5.5% vs 5.9%) were similar in both groups. The apparent increase in clinical pregnancy and live birth with Metrodin-HP did not reach statistical significance. The dosages of gonadotropins used were comparable. Estradiol levels measured on day 8 of stimulation were significantly lower in the Metrodin-HP group than in the Pergonal group, but the difference did not reach statistical significance on the day of hCG administration. Significantly more follicles (greater than 12 mm) were obtained in the Metrodin-HP group, but the numbers of eggs recovered and fertilized were similar in the two groups.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that highly purified FSH (Metrodin-HP) is as effective and successful as hMG (Pergonal) for ovarian stimulation in a standard IVF regimen. Exogenous luteinizing hormone (LH) is not required for satisfactory ovarian stimulation in IVF. Measurement of estradiol may be less helpful in the monitoring of Metrodin-HP cycles, but the level reached on the day of hCG administration can still be used to predict, and hence avoid, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.