Phytoestrogens may improve the pregnancy rate in in vitro fertilization– embryo transfer cycles

Objective: To compare the effectiveness of IM P and IM P plus oral phytoestrogens for luteal phase support in patients undergoing IVF-ET cycles.

Design: Prospective, controlled, randomized trial. Setting: University Hospital, Perugia, Italy.

Patient(s): Two hundred thirteen infertile patients undergoing IVF-ET were included in the study. The inclusion criteria were use of a GnRH agonist for pituitary down-regulation and age 40 years. The total number of cycles performed was 274.

Intervention(s): Patients were assigned to receive either IM P (50 mg daily) plus placebo or P (50 mg daily) plus phytoestrogen supplementation (1,500 mg daily) for luteal phase support starting from the evening of oocyte retrieval until either a serum pregnancy test result was negative or embryonic heartbeat was sonographically confirmed.

Main Outcome Measure(s): The outcomes of IVF-ET were evaluated in both study groups in terms of implantation rate, biochemical pregnancy rate (PR), clinical PR, spontaneous abortion rate, and ongoing pregnancy/delivered rate.

Result(s): Statistically significant higher values for implantation rate, clinical PR, and ongoing pregnancy/ delivered rate were recorded in the patients who received P plus phytoestrogens for luteal phase support in comparison with patients receiving P and placebo.

Conclusion(s): Although the results of this study encourage the use of phytoestrogens for luteal phase support in patients undergoing IVF-ET program, more studies are necessary to support the hypothesis that phytoestrogens have a beneficial effect in IVF cycles. (Fertil Steril 2004;82:1509 –13. ©2004 by American Society for Reproductive Medicine.)

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