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BACKGROUND: In an effort to improve outcomes of in-vitro fertilisation cycles the use of growth hormone has been considered. Improving the outcomes of in-vitro fertilisation is especially important for subfertile women who are considered 'poor responders'. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of adjuvant growth hormone in in-vitro fertilisation protocols. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Cochrane Menstrual Disorders and Subfertility Groups trials register (June 2009), the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (Cochrane Library Issue 2, 2009), MEDLINE (1966 to June 2009), EMBASE (1988 to June 2009) and Biological Abstracts (1969 to June 2009). SELECTION CRITERIA: All randomised controlled trials were included if they addressed the research question and provided outcome data for intervention and control participants. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Assessment of trial risk of bias and extraction of relevant data was performed independently by two reviewers. MAIN RESULTS: Ten studies (440 subfertile couples) were included. Results of the meta-analysis demonstrated no difference in outcome measures and adverse events in the routine use of adjuvant growth hormone in in-vitro fertilisation protocols. However, meta-analysis demonstrated a statistically significant difference in both live birth rates and pregnancy rates favouring the use of adjuvant growth hormone in in-vitro fertilisation protocols in women who are considered poor responders without increasing adverse events, OR 5.39, 95% CI 1.89 to 15.35 and OR 3.28, 95% CI 1.74 to 6.20 respectively. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Although the use of growth hormone in poor responders has been found to show a significant improvement in live birth rates, we were unable to identify which sub-group of poor responders would benefit the most from adjuvant growth hormone. The result needs to be interpreted with caution, the included trials were few in number and small sample size. Therefore, before recommending growth hormone adjuvant in in-vitro fertilisation further research is necessary to fully define its role.

Original publication




Journal article


Cochrane Database Syst Rev

Publication Date



Chemotherapy, Adjuvant Female Fertilization in Vitro/*methods Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone/*therapeutic use Human Growth Hormone/*therapeutic use Humans Infertility, Female/drug therapy Live Birth *Ovulation Induction Pregnancy Pregnancy Rate Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic