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Hormones increase infertile women’s chances of conceiving via IVF

Infertile women are over 50 per cent more likely to become pregnant if they are treated with two key hormones, new research suggests. 

Among infertile women undergoing IVF after two unsuccessful attempts, 54.3 per cent become pregnant and 51.4 per cent go on to have a live birth after receiving the growth hormones estradiol and progesterone, a study found.

This is compared to just 17.1 per cent of barren women who try IVF for a third time without these hormones, the research adds.

Estradiol and progesterone are thought to improve blood flow to the lining of the uterus, preparing it for egg implantation.

Researchers plan to investigate whether women suitable for such treatment can be identified before having to endure repeated IVF failures.

Infertility affects around 11 per cent of women and nine per cent of men of a reproductive age in the US. Around one in seven couples in the UK struggle to conceive. 

Infertile women are over 50% more likely to become pregnant if they receive two hormones


Women who consume sugary drinks while having IVF cut their chances of conceiving, research suggested in October 2017.

Drinking more than one sugary beverage a day reduces a woman’s chance of having a live birth after IVF by 16 per cent, a Harvard University study found.

Having just one sugary drink a day lowers the chance of successful IVF by 12 per cent, the research adds.

Sugary drinks also reduce the number and maturity of a woman’s ovarian cells, as well as lowering their amount of high-quality embryos, the study found.

Previous research suggests sugar stimulates the release of stress hormones that affect the health of the reproductive system. 

Eggs and embryos may also fail to thrive in high blood glucose environments. 

The researchers analysed 340 women undergoing IVF between 2014 and 2016.

The study’s participants were investigated during the second stage of IVF treatment, known as ovarian stimulation, when the goal is to harvest as many mature eggs as possible from the ovaries.

They completed a questionnaire to assess their drink consumption.

The participant’s IVF outcomes were determined through their medical records. 

No link was found between coffee, caffeinated drinks or diet sodas and a woman’s IVF prospects. 

Further research required to identify eligible women      

Results further suggest that among women having IVF for the first time without such hormones, 74.3 per cent become pregnant and 68.6 per cent go on to have a live birth.

Women who successfully have IVF on their first attempt are thought to have thicker womb linings. 

Lead author Signe Altmäe said: ‘A question arises as to how to identify the target patient population without the need to experience several previous treatment failures.

‘The answer to this question is pending on the understanding of the mechanism through which growth hormones improve endometrial receptivity.’ 

‘These are very positive results’  

Dr Hana Visnova, medical director at the fertility clinic IVF Cube in Prague, who was not involved in the study, added: ‘These are very positive results and certainly appear to point the way to improved and more bespoke IVF treatment.

‘Previous research has shown that the quality of eggs produced by a donor is potentially made better if they have been taking growth hormones. 

‘This has been noted in observations of a higher number of eggs collected, higher fertilisation rates and the higher number of embryos reaching the transfer stage. 

‘What this trial has done is to look at another piece of the IVF jigsaw and that is whether or not the uterus can be stimulated to be more receptive to egg implantation. 

She said: ‘It has found a clear difference in success rates between women of similar IVF experiences and is certainly a line of research which demands further exploration. 

‘Potentially, the use of grown hormone to improve the receptiveness of the uterus to a donated egg is significant.’ 

This is compared to just 17.1% of barren women who try IVF for a third time without hormones

This is compared to just 17.1% of barren women who try IVF for a third time without hormones

How the research was carried out    

The researchers analysed 105 women, aged between 30 and 51, who were divided into three groups between 2010 and 2017.

The first group consisted of women who had undergone two unsuccessful rounds of IVF, and were given estradiol orally and progesterone intravaginally before their third attempt.

In the second group, women had also twice failed to conceive with IVF and were not given the hormones before undergoing a third round.

The third group of women had their first cycle of IVF and were also not given the hormones.

All of the eggs came from donors under 25 years old.