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Study that Increases Ovarian Response

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#1 LisainSK

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 07:25 AM

Hi there...just in case anyone is classified as a poor responder but has a normal FSH level, I came across this study through a blog friend that is a patient of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine like I am/was. CCRM has started a protocol for her identical to the study. You can follow her story here as she just started it.

The conclusion of the study is as follows: of the participants studied, 80% received a five fold improvement in ovarian response to the stimulation drugs upon receiving a transdermal testosterone therapy prior to stimulation (so a skin patch that you wear that provides testosterone). If any of you are a poor responder but have an FSH within normal levels, this study may be something you want to discuss with your RE.

All the best in your journey!
  • Danutza likes this
Me (33) and DH (35)....married 10 years (small town sweethearts)

December 2006: TTC # 1
May 2007: DH S/A...normal.
September 2007: BFP au naturelle...holy smokes!
November 2007: M/C # 1 @ 12 wk. DNC reveals a Partial Molar Pregnancy.
January 2009: Referral to local OB/GYN
April 2009: Dx Unexplained. Referral to Calgary RFP.
May 2009: Clomid Cycle # 1...BFN
June 2009: IUI # 1 w/ Clomid # 2 and HCG...BFN
July 2009: Clomid Cycle # 3...BFP! Happy but terrified of another m/c.
September 2009: Worst fears confirmed...M/C # 2 @ 8 weeks
October 2009: IVF Orientation at Calgary RFP and on wait list.
January 2010: Dx (Me) Abnormal Karyotype (Pericentric Inversion Chromosome 16)
March 2010: RFP Referral/Consultation with Reprogenetics in New Jersey
March/April 2010: PGD/IVF success odds very low...20% estimated "normal embryos" per cycle and a 41% pg rate
May 2010: Consult with Dr. Schoolcraft of Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine
June 2010: One Day Work Up @ CCRM (Denver, CO)
June 2010: Predicted Low Responder (Low AFC and AMH). Inversion in difficult spot...We're doing Donor Eggs!!
July 2010: Discovery that I am also a carrier of Fragile X...my eggs didn't have a chance.
July 2010: Annonymous Egg Donor chosen through CCRM
August 2010: Mock FET Cycle completed.
DE IVF # 1
September 2010: Donor Eggs retrieved. Blastocysts to undergo PCR genetic screeing.
October 21, 2010: U/S showing 9.9 mm lining with triple stripe; E2 = 1600 and 1397 US units
November 1st, 2010: FET # 1 (Elective Single Embryo Transfer - eSET)
November 10th, 2010: Beta HCG # 1 = 82, P4 = 23.1 US units
November 12th, 2010: Beta HCG # 2 = 186! BFP!!
November 17th, 2010: Beta HCG # 3 = 1461
November 19th, 2010: Beta HCG # 4 = 3740
November 26th, 2010 U/S: hb = 120 bpm, measuring 6w1d, actual gestation is 6w2d since transfer, CRL = 3.8 mm
Dec. 10th, 2010 U/S: hb = 180 bpm, measuring 8w2d - exactly 8w2d since FET, CRL = 1.8 cm
February 18, 2011: Anatomy scan
EDD = July 20th, 2011

June 28th, 2011 @ 3:19 AM MTN: Levi Darrell John born at 36w6d at 6lbs 14oz and 18" long. He is precious beyond measure.

Visit my blog at:


February 2012: Bye Bye IVF.ca community...you are the reason I got to where I am today. I am forever reached via pm as my email alerts me. Take care all...wishing you all peace in your hearts soon.

#2 kerrilyn


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Posted 17 March 2011 - 08:03 AM

GREAT INFO Lisa!! Thanks!
Me (Kerri-Lyn) 41, DH (Steve) 37, TTC since April 2007Unexplained IF (possibly crappy eggs, AMH 10.4 = poor responder) - HSG, SHGx3, Lap, Cycle Monitoring, Recurrent loss bloods, EMB, Karyotyping, DNA Frag - all normal! 7 IUI's, 2 cancelled IVF's, 3 complete IVF's, 1 FET, 2 clinics, 1 early miscarriage, lots of debt, lots of heartache, lots of tears. We rolled the dice and got lucky on our last ditch "close the door" cycle and have a beautiful little girl. April 2014 - Had the crazy notion to try for another. Shocked with a BFP, miscarried @ 8W6D. See my "about me" page for more cycle details.

#3 impatient

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 09:35 AM

Thanks for posting!
Me: 41, DH: 44
TTC: since Jan, 2008 (age 34)

DH: Low morphology, low count. Me: Stage 2-3 endometriosis, non-functional fallopian tubes, small fibroids, low AFC, low poor responder ... anything else?

Jun 2008-Sep 2011 in a nutshell: One HSG, one very traumatic office hysteroscopy, one operative laparoscopy, three fresh IVF/ICSI cycles, one chemical, one early miscarriage, two tubal recanalizations, five IUIs (3 with Clomid).

May 2010 - Aug 2011 Attempted adoption application process through the BC MCFD. Aug 2011 Signed up with a private agency. On both waiting lists as of Apr 2012. Proposal through MCFD Jul 2012. Aug 2012 - Finally ... she's home and we're a family! : )

Adoption application #2 started Aug 2013. DD2 placed May 2014, finalized Feb 2015!

"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Thomas Edison

#4 ---

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Posted 17 March 2011 - 10:50 AM

Hmmm...it makes me wonder about something...I have elevated testosterone and respond wickedly to stims, and I'm 42 ! I will surely read this but just thought I'd point that out as it makes sense to me. CCRM is cutting edge so I hope that lots of people benefit from this.

#5 salome

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 01:40 PM


I just found this information that maybe will be useful for those ones who are looking to improve egg quality and have a better response. I'm currently doing the cocktail, so far my period are stable, getting every month, now instead of them lasting 1.5 days they do almost 4. My CM is like eggwhite and more in quantity. And my fertile days now are the 14 instead of the 10 or 11. I guess, I'll see in Feb 2013 (IVM date) how things are doing in re to my eggs quality.

Baby dust to All!

Quoting from http://forums.fertil...upplements.html:"

" Supplements with great documented results for treatment of various problems associated with infertility in WOMEN

Supplements with great documented results for treatment of various problems associated with infertility in MEN

Supplements that you try at your own discretion as there is no “documented measurable repeatable” benefit

DHEA beneficially affects egg and embryo quality by reducing chromosomal abnormalities.

Investigators at CHR now report to have elucidated at least one of the mechanisms by which DHEA exerts beneficial effects on egg and embryo quality, thereby improving pregnancy chances and reducing miscarriages after IVF. The mechanism involves improvement of chromosomal integrity of embryos.
It is well known that as women age, the risk of chromosomal abnormalities in pregnancies and offspring increases. Most chromosomal abnormalities in embryos result in miscarriages. Collaborating in 2009 with colleagues from Toronto, Canada, investigators from CHR reported unexpectedly low spontaneous miscarriage rates in pregnancies conceived on DHEA supplementation (Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology). They suspected that such low miscarriage rates had to be the consequence of lower aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities), but proof was lacking.
In a recently published study, investigators from CHR now, for the first time, confirmed that DHEA reduces chromosomal abnormalities (aneuploidy) in embryos through preimplantation genetic screening (PGS). The greatest reduction in aneuploidy (22%) was observed with 4-12 weeks of DHEA supplementation prior to IVF.
VERDICT: Numerous studies available showing that DHEA holds promise as a compound to improve egg quality, most effective when taken at least 4 weeks prior to cycle

Royal Jelly

Here is what The Infertility Cure has to say about Bee pollen and royal Jelly:

"Bee pollen and/or royal jelly is regenerative and tonifying. Bogdan Tekavcic M.D., a Yugoslavian gynecologist, conducted a study in which the majority of women who were given bee pollen with royal jelly showed improvement or disappearance of their menstral problems, while there was no change in the placebo group. Another study showed bee pollen significantly improved sperm production in men. Bee pollen, which is worker bee food, is rich in vitamins, minerals, necleic acids, and steroid hormones, and improves health, endurance, and immunity. royal jelly is modified pollen fed only to the reproducing queen bee, whose job is to produce more infant bees. The nutritive tonic might be considered the bee equivalent of fertility drugs. Rich in amino acids, vitamins, and enzymes, royal jelly helps the queen lay millions of eggs and live longer than the worker bee."

VERDICT: I cannot find any peer reviewed studies to support the use of this product. I am finding anecdotes and stuff from natural therapy websites but nothing published in journals


Inositol is a biological compound related to the vitamin B complex group. Its actions in the body include: the formation of cell membrane integrity, the transportation of fats from the liver, and the activation of serotonin receptors. In short, inositol’s physiological roles are especially important for those with diabetes, high or imbalanced cholesterol, PCOS, and mood disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks or depression.
One of the roles of inositol in the body is the development of follicles. Studies have shown that myo-inositol supplementation, where there is depletion, can promote the healthy maturation of follicles. This is of interest to women with PCOS because of evidence showing decreased levels of circulating myo-inositol and increased levels of myo-inositol excreted in the urine, lending an overall deficiency of inositol available for use by the body.
Because inositol is widely available in the foods eaten through a balanced diet-the issue of an inositol deficiency lies in the individual’s inability to absorb the nutrient or perhaps convert it from foods. Aside from this, coffee appears to have the ability to wipe out inositol from the body.

VERDICT: This appears to be extremely important to women with PCOS and/ or to improve the follicle quality.


Melatonin, is a natural hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain and helps regulate sleep patterns. By resetting the internal body clock it can help insomniacs to sleep better. It is also helps in cases of seasonally affected depression. Most people know it as an over-the-counter or prescription medication to help conquer jet lag, but melatonin may now have a new use.

Scientists at the World Congress of Fertility and Sterility in Munich, September 2010, heard that women with poor egg quality having IVF treatments who were also treated with melatonin were more likely to get pregnant.

The Study
Poor egg quality is one of the causes of infertility in women and up to now there has been no treatment available to help this condition. However it seems that melatonin may now be able to do the trick. Apparently melatonin helps to improve the quality of the egg by reducing the level of an oxidizing agent called 8-OHdG in the egg. Researchers found that women taking 3mg of melatonin before their next IVF cycle had 50% of their eggs becoming fertilized compared to less than 23% of the eggs of the control group. Following embryo transfer, 19% of the women taking the melatonin became pregnant compared to just over 10% of the women who didn't take it.
Although this was a small study of only 115 women at the Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, the results are nevertheless significant. Associate Professor Hiroshi Tamura, the team's leader, believes that "melatonin treatment is likely to become a significant option for improving oocyte quality in women who cannot become pregnant because of poor oocyte (egg) quality"

The Next Step
The next step in the research, apart from repeating the study with a larger group of women, is to study exactly how oxidizing agents play a part in reducing the quality of women's eggs. This research is particularly significant as melatonin was previously believed to lower FSH levels and increase prolactin levels in most women, which are generally considered to lower fertility. However, other research shows that melatonin helps relieve depression in premenopausal women and may help to restore fertility where thyroid function is also affected.

Melatonin And You
According to research cited in both the Journal of General Internal Medicine and the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology, it appears that taking a low dose of melatonin is safe for a healthy person if taken for a short time period. i.e. less than three months. Melatonin is normally taken at night before bed for a variety of sleep disorders and jet lag. Doses vary between 0.3mg and 3.0mg or even higher but it seems that a smaller dose often works better than a larger one.

VERDICT: The study quoted above shows a statistically significant difference in the results to IVF by women taking melatonin. This seems extremely postive and should be part of our arsenal


A study is presently being done by the University of Toronto to determine the impact of CoQ10 on the ovarian response of women 38-43.
The study dosage is 2 caps , 3 times a day- daily intake of 600mg

CoQ10 is present in seminal fluid and its concentration has a direct impact on sperm count and motility. The effect of CoQ10 on sperm motility and function had been addressed only through in vitro experiments until a group of Italian researchers did two studies on infertile men. CoQ10 increased significantly both in seminal plasma and sperm cells after treatment, as well as spermatozoa motility.
Patients with lower CoQ10 levels and lower motility had a stronger response to the treatment, leading researchers to conclude that CoQ10 supplements help increase CoQ10 levels in semen and improve sperm motility in infertile men.2
Researchers at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran, recruited 212 infertile men and randomly assigned them to receive a daily CoQ10 supplement or placebo for 26 weeks. This was followed by 30 weeks with no intervention.
The study, which appears in the current issue of Journal of Urology (July 2009), found that there was significant improvement in sperm counts, density and motility in infertile men, after they took 300 mg of CoQ10 for 56 weeks.
Author Mohammad Reza Safarinejad wrote that the statistically significant but modest results of the study suggest that CoQ10 may have “potential clinical applications in infertile men.” The researcher called for further studies to evaluate if CoQ10 supplementation may play a role in achieving pregnancy in infertile couples.3
In a recent study at the Polytechnic University of Marche, Ancona, Italy, 60 infertile men between the ages of 27 and 39 were given a daily dose of 200 mg of CoQ10 or placebo for 6 months, with a 3-month follow-up. CoQ10 increased significantly in both seminal plasma and sperm cells after treatment. It also improved sperm motility.4

CoQ10 has a proven track record of supporting heart health. Now, men with fertility issues can also feel confident that CoQ10 supplementation can help support their chances of having a child.

Studies are still being done on the impact of CoQ10 on infertile women but anecdotal evidence and industry accepted practice shows that most diagnosticians accept that CoQ10 will have a positive impact on female fertility commonly cited dosages 300-600mg daily. The benefits that can be seen with supplementation with CoQ10 are especially worthwhile for men with motility problems – dosage between 200-300 mg daily.


Often called the miracle Molecule by researchers, L Arginine has shown to offer some potent fertility benefits to both men and women who are trying to conceive. More than 10,000 medical citations have been written by researchers investigating the effects of L Arginine on human fertility.

L Arginine does appear to help increase woman’s fertility, with 33% of previously infertile women conceiving after taking the supplement in one study. L Arginine promotes the synthesis of Nitric Oxide(NO). Nitric Oxide is naturally produced by the body and is important for blood dilation, increases blood flow to the uterus, ovaries and genitals.
L Arginine can benefit women by:
• Increasing the cervical mucous
• Enhancing libido
• Promoting a healthy environment for implantation
• May extend fertility for women over 40
Offering several benefits to men, L Arginine does seem to offer sexual function improvement in the vast majority of the men studied. With erectile function affecting nearly 50% of men at some time after their 40th birthday, finding relief with L Arginine has been a real plus to the thousands of men trying to conceive a child with their partners.
Able to help bring up testosterone levels without side affects, L Arginine has been successfully used to increase arterial blood flow to the penis, helping men to get (and keep) an erection longer, giving it the high distinction of a natural Viagra among the medical field.
Sperm health is also affected by L Arginine. For men with low sperm counts, L Arginine can be a real help, with one study showing a 250%-plus increase in sperm amounts and motility in most study participants.
L Arginine may benefit men by:
• Increasing sperm health, count and motility
• Improve erectile function
• Increase testosterone levels if needed
An essential amino acid (not a hormone), its protein building abilities allows L Arginine to cross the blood-brain barrier to the hypothalamus (something other medications and supplements can not do), to naturally trigger the pituitary gland to produce more growth hormone to aid in fertility.
Nitric Oxide, synthesized by L Arginine, is the chemical messenger that creates erections in men and orgasm in women. Without Nitric Oxide, no erection can occur, making conception difficult, if not altogether impossible.
Although L Arginine is a great fertility booster, it does need to be avoided by people with herpes as it can promote an outbreak.

This is another compound with benefits for both men and women in terms of improving fertility


Pycnogenol is used to slow the aging process, maintain healthy skin, improve athletic endurance, and improve male fertility.
Pycnogenol contains substances that might improve blood flow. It might also stimulate the immune system and have antioxidant effects.

For anyone interested in reading
This study discusses how Pycnogenol shows the ability to improve sperm morphology.

VERDICT: No peer-reviewed studies on the impact of pycnogenol on female fertility but a few exist on benefits for men taking this compound.

Wheat Grass

OK other than anecdotal stories of the – “I did this and I got pregnant type”- I could not find a single piece of literature from a reliable source on this product.

VERDICT: It has no potential to harm your efforts so once you can tolerate it give it a try. CON: This is one of the more expensive compounds in the supplementation therapy with no documented and scientifically repeatable benefits.

Omega 3 Fatty Acid
Omega-3 fatty acids can help you with fertility in that there is some research that suggests that they help to promote natural ovulation. They do this by helping to extend the portion of your cycle in which you are the most fertile. There is also some evidence to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids can help make a woman’s cycle more regular.
To be sure, Omega-3 fatty acids are not only useful for fertility. Certainly the benefits of Omega-3 fatty acids for a woman once she has become pregnant have been sufficiently researched. Evidence suggests that Omega-3 fatty acids can help avoid miscarriage, as well as helping avoid certain birth defects and helping to reduce the risk that the woman will prematurely go into labor.

Verdict: If you’re struggling with fertility issues, give Omega-3 fatty acids a try. It may be they can give you that little extra help you might need.

"Someday everything will all make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, and keep reminds yourself that everything happens for a reason" =)

36 yo
ttc last 3 years
DH: several astheno
blfc 5
FSH 6.1
3 failed IUI
2 failed IVF (Feb 2012, July 2012)
going for the IVM: Feb 2013
Now under DHEA 75 mg per day & CoQ10 600 mg per day

1 failed IVM (Feb 1 2013)

600 repronex for 3 days before collection

egg not good quality

transfer cancelled

=( =( =(


#6 RiverSong

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 11:22 PM

I just found your post salome doing a search through the forums on any information to improve egg quality and I must say Wow, this is such a wealth of knowledge and I greatly appreciate the time you must have spent putting this together. This is everything I have been looking for on the topic all wrapped up into one post. Thanks!

TTC # 1 Since July 2011
Never have had a BFP


Me: 28
-stopped BC May 2011
-have Pernicious Anemia, treated with Vitamin B12 shots once a month
-hormonal blood work checked out fine
-RE found 2 3cm cysts, one in each of my ovaries, diagnosed as endometriosis

-will be having laproscopic surgery hopefully within next few months to remove cysts

-bicornuate uterus


DH: 30
-morphology issues related to immature or non-existent acrosome
-functional semen analysis at end of Mar '13




#7 RuralGirl

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Posted 16 March 2013 - 11:28 AM

Agree, this is a great post.

Dx: Male Factor + DOR

IVF/ICSI #1 Nov 2011 at Heartland: Regular Long Protocol
resulted in a single embryo, BFN - see About Me page for details

IVF/ICSI #2 June 2012 at Heartland: Estrogen Primed Antagonist Protocol
resulted in a BFP!!! - see About Me page for details

DD born Jan 2013 (from IVF/ICSI #2)

DS born Nov 2014 (conceived naturally!)