Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factors (IGFs) are not mandatory for reproductive life, but data suggest their synergistic action with follicle-stimulating hormone throughout ovarian folliculogenesis. We aimed to evaluate the association of IGF-1 level on clinical pregnancy rate after ovarian stimulation, with or without intrauterine insemination, in women with GH deficiency (GHD) treated with GH replacement therapy (GHRT) at conception.
Design and methods
Data from 19 women with both GHD and hypogonadotropic hypogonadism referred to our reproductive medicine department were retrospectively collected. IGF-1 levels were assessed in a single laboratory, and values were expressed in s.d. from the mean.
Amongst the seven patients receiving GHRT during ovarian stimulation, higher IGF-1 levels were significantly associated with clinical pregnancy (+0.4 s.d. vs–1.6 s.d., P = 0.03). Amongst the 24 pregnancies obtained by the 19 infertile patients, pregnancy loss was less frequent with the addition of GHRT than without (1 miscarriage out of 8 total pregnancies vs 4 miscarriages out of 16 total pregnancies).
This is the first study evaluating the association of IGF-1 level on clinical pregnancy rate in GH-treated women at conception. When taking care of female infertility due to hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, practitioners should enquire about the associated GHD and IGF-1 levels. To ensure higher clinical pregnancy chances, practitioners should aim for IGF-1 values at conception, ranging from 0 s.d. to +2 s.d., and, if necessary, could discuss initiation or increase GH treatment. Prospective studies should help strengthen our results.