Serum androgen levels in patients undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation for in vitro fertilization cycles

Raoul Orvieto, Vered Yulzari-Roll, Antonio La Marca, Jacob Ashkenazi, Benjamin Fisch
Gynecological Endocrinology 2005, 21 (4): 218-22

AIM: To investigate androgen behavior during controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) for in vitro fertilization (IVF).

DESIGN: A prospective, observational study.

SETTING: An IVF unit of an academic medical center.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: Blood was drawn three times during the COH cycle from 17 consecutive patients undergoing the long gonadotropin-releasing hormone-analog protocol: the day on which adequate suppression was obtained (Day-S); the day of or prior to administration of human chorionic gonadotropin (Day-hCG); and (3) the day of ovum pick-up (Day-OPU).

RESULTS: There was a significant increase in serum sex steroid levels during gonadotropin treatment. After hCG administration, there was a significant increase in levels of serum 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-OHP) and ovarian androgens (total and free testosterone and androstenedione), with no significant change in adrenal androgen (dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate). Significant correlations were observed between plasma estradiol (E(2)) and androgen levels during COH and until hCG administration, but not after hCG administration. The E(2)/testosterone ratio increased significantly during COH and until hCG administration, and then decreased significantly. The number of oocytes retrieved correlated significantly with serum 17-OHP, E(2) and E(2)/testosterone ratio. The number of gonadotropin ampoules used correlated inversely only with serum E(2) levels.

CONCLUSION: In patients undergoing COH for IVF, androgen levels increase in response to gonadotropin, and then again after hCG administration. Although the E(2)/testosterone ratio correlates with the number of oocytes retrieved, androgen levels do not.

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