Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Discovery By Fertility Specialist Offers Promise Of Reducing Multiple Births Tied To Fertility Treatment

Date:
March 18, 1998
Source:
University At Buffalo
Summary:
Preliminary research by a fertility specialist at the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that a hormone whose role in fertility was thought to be limited to triggering ovulation also can support growth of a developing egg follicle during fertility treatment.

ATLANTA -- Preliminary research by a fertility specialist at the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that a hormone whose role in fertility was thought to be limited to triggering ovulation also can support growth of a developing egg follicle during fertility treatment.

Related Articles


Results of the research were presented here March 13, 1998 at the annual meeting of the Society for Gynecological Investigation.

The findings suggest that lutenizing hormone (LH), a hormone present in the second half of the menstrual cycle, may perform the critical task of sustaining the growth of egg follicles until ovulation, said Michael W. Sullivan, M.D., UB assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics and lead researcher on the study.

They have important implications for women undergoing fertility treatments, Sullivan said, because specialists formerly thought the only way to keep a developing egg growing was to administer follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, which also causes multiple eggs to mature.

By manipulating LH and FSH, Sullivan said it could be possible to sustain the growth and development of one or two follicles in women undergoing fertility treatment while preventing multiple ovulations and thus decreasing the risk of multiple births.

"Nobody has looked at this before, because it wasn't possible until the development of the recombinant form of the two hormones, which happened very recently," Sullivan said. "The finding is very preliminary, but it is promising."

The results are based on a prospective trial involving 24 women that Sullivan led while a fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Successful infertility treatment depends on the ability to manipulate precisely the essential hormones involved, which requires their clear identification. Infertility specialists strive for a single birth, considering anything more than twins a complication, because of the potentially serious, even life-threatening, medical problems that often accompany multiple births.

One of the stumbling blocks to this end has been identifying a way to limit the number of eggs that mature during fertility treatment while keeping at least one egg developing.

During a normal menstrual cycle, FSH stimulates egg follicles to develop. At a certain point in the cycle, estrogen signals the pituitary to stop producing FSH, a signal that at least one egg follicle is well and being nurtured. The drop in FSH stops more follicles from developing, all immature follicles die, but the "recruited" follicle lives.

"Nobody knew why the follicle continued to thrive in the face of decreased FSH," Sullivan said. "We thought that FSH was required all the way along, even at low levels. So standard procedure during fertility treatment has been to continue FSH, which keeps follicles growing, but also may stimulate too many to develop. That's the up side and down side of FSH.

"We've now shown that FSH is not essential during the entire first half of the cycle. We've discovered that LH can make up for the deficiency of FSH as the follicle grows."

Sullivan and colleagues stopped production of fertility hormones artificially in the study group, and then stimulated follicle development in all the women with recombinant human FSH. When a 14-mm. follicle was identified by ultrasound (an arbitrary size thought to guarantee sufficient maturity), the women were randomized to one of four groups: continued FSH treatment; FSH replaced with saline; FSH replaced with high dose of recombinant LH, and FSH replaced with low dose of recombinant LH.

After two days of treatment, researchers measured blood levels of estrogen, the sign that a follicle is healthy and developing normally. Estrogen levels dropped in the saline group, indicating the maturing follicle had ceased to thrive in the absence of FSH or LH. In all three remaining groups, estrogen levels continued to rise and pregnancies resulted in all three groups.

"This suggests that if you administer FSH until one follicle matures, then limit FSH and substitute LH, you can support the growth of the maturing follicle, but won't recruit any more follicles," Sullivan said. "We are now trying to determine how far back in the cycle you can push this process and still capture a maturing follicle."

Also participating in the study were Ann Stewart-Akers, Joel S. Krasnow, Sarah L. Berga and Anthony J. Zeleznik of the departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

The research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health and TAP Pharmaceuticals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University At Buffalo. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University At Buffalo. "Discovery By Fertility Specialist Offers Promise Of Reducing Multiple Births Tied To Fertility Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 March 1998. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318074742.htm>.
University At Buffalo. (1998, March 18). Discovery By Fertility Specialist Offers Promise Of Reducing Multiple Births Tied To Fertility Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318074742.htm
University At Buffalo. "Discovery By Fertility Specialist Offers Promise Of Reducing Multiple Births Tied To Fertility Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1998/03/980318074742.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins