The Importance of DHEA When Calculating Your Chances of Pregnancy

It is common for women with fertility issues to have questions about their chances for getting pregnant.  The likelihood varies from person to person and is directly related to each woman’s diagnosis.  Traditionally, women with a diminished ovarian reserve or who are diagnosed as poor responders are among those with the lowest pregnancy success rates.  This is partially because of a decreased egg quality which both inhibits pregnancy and increases the likelihood of miscarriage. However, the hormone DHEA is changing these odds.


What is DHEA?

DHEA, dehydroepiandrosterone, is naturally made by the adrenal glands which are located near the kidneys.  DHEA is converted by the body into the fertility hormones estrogen and testosterone.  Naturally, the production of DHEA reaches its highest point during a person’s 20s and then gradually declines as a person ages.  Women with diminished ovarian reserves typically have natural DHEA levels that are abnormally low.

Does DHEA treatment improve fertility?

Poor responders are among the hardest individuals to treat with traditional IVF.  Because their bodies do not respond well to fertility medication, it is common for traditional IVF cycles to be stopped before the egg harvest. Even when traditional IVF treatment can be completed, pregnancy rates with live births for these women can be as small as four percent.

When DHEA is used, there is a marked increase in:

  • Egg quality
  • Resulting embryo quality
  • Live birth rates

An Israeli study evaluated women who took DHEA for the six weeks prior to starting IVF versus a group that received a placebo.  The women who received DHEA had a live birth rate of 23 percent.  This is in stark contrast with the control group that had a live birth rate of only four percent.  Additionally, the women in the DHEA group had healthier outcomes, with only one of the pregnancies not resulting in a live birth. This research confirms what was shown through previous studies.  While the exact reason for the increased fertility is not known, it is believed that DHEA improves egg quality and follicle health.

For additional information on DHEA treatment for infertility, contact New Hope Fertility Center today. Please click the link below to enter your information and New Hope will contact you, or simply call 212-517-7676. Thank You.

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