Ovulation triggering in clomiphene citrate-stimulated cycles: human chorionic gonadotropin versus a gonadotropin releasing hormone agonist

C Schmidt-Sarosi, D R Kaplan, P Sarosi, M N Essig, F L Licciardi, M Keltz, M Levitz
Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics 1995, 12 (3): 167-74

PURPOSE: To compare the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) to a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, nafarelin, in initiating ovulation and supporting the luteal phase after priming with clomiphene.

METHODS: In 26 infertile women 50 mg clomiphene citrate produced a preovulatory-size follicle. Then, 11 women were randomized to receive two 400-micrograms doses of nafarelin intranasally 16 h apart, and 15 women were injected intramuscularly with 5000 IU of hCG (luteal day 0 = LD0). Starting on LD6, 7 more 400-micrograms doses of nafarelin were repeated on an every 16-h schedule or a single 2500 IU dose of hCG was given, respectively. Serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estradiol (E2), progesterone (P), and hCG were measured. On LD13, endometrium was evaluated with ultrasonography and biopsy in 19 nonpregnant women.

RESULTS: As judged by a threefold rise in serum LH, an LH surge was detected on LD1 in all 11 nafarelin patients, but in only 8 hCG patients (P = 0.01). LH and FSH levels were significantly higher on LD1, 7, and 8 and were significantly suppressed on LD13 in the nafarelin group. All patients had mid-luteal P levels greater than 10 ng/ml and luteal phases longer than 13 days. Significantly different luteal E2 or P levels were noted only on LD13, with lower values in the nafarelin group. Pregnancies were achieved in 3 of 11 nafarelin cycles and 2 of 15 hCG cycles. Luteal phase defects were also similar: 4 of 8 nafarelin patients and 7 of 11 hCG patients.

CONCLUSION: Nafarelin or hCG in conjunction with clomiphene can result in viable pregnancies, but is associated with low pregnancy rates and a high incidence of luteal phase defects.

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