BACKGROUNDː Growth hormone (GH) is known to be involved in ovarian folliculogenesis and oocyte maturation. In patients with poor ovarian response without growth hormone deficiency (GHD), adjuvant GH treatment improves in-vitro fertilization (IVF) results. Improvement of oocyte quality in IVF by GH replacement was reported in only a few patients with GHD. We report on another case with study of follicular fluid. METHODSː A 29-year-old patient with hypopituitarism was referred to our infertility center. She was undergoing hormonal replacement for hypogonadotropic hypogonadism and diabetes insipidus, and did not at first want GH replacement. Four IVF procedures were performed between 2011 and 2014. Growth hormone replacement (somatotropin 1.1mg/day) was initiated before the fourth IVF procedure and unmasked central hypothyroidism; levothyroxine (75 mg/day) was introduced. It took 10 months to reach the treatment objectives for insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), free triiodothyronine (fT3) and free thyroxine (fT4). GH, IGF1 and thyroid hormones were measured in the blood and follicular fluid before and after GH and thyroid hormone replacement. Oocyte and embryo quality were also compared. RESULTSː The first 3 IVF procedures were performed without GH replacement. 62% to 100% of mature oocytes presented one or more morphologic abnormalities: diffuse cytoplasmic granularity, large perivitelline space with fragments, fragmentation of the first polar body, ovoid shape, or difficult denudation. Embryo quality was moderate to poor (grade B to D), and no pregnancy was obtained after embryo transfer. After GH replacement, hormones levels increased in follicular fluid: GH [7.68 vs. 1.39 mIU/L], IGF1 [109 vs. <25 ng/mL], fT3 [3.7 vs. 2.5 pmol/L] and fT4 [1.45 vs. 0.84 ng/mL]. Concomitantly, there was dramatic improvement in oocyte quality (no abnormal morphologies) and embryo quality (grade A), allowing an embryo transfer with successful pregnancy. CONCLUSIONSː This is the first report illustrating changes in hormonal levels in follicular fluid and the beneficial effect of GH replacement on oocyte and embryo quality during an IVF procedure in a patient with hypopituitarism. These results suggest that GH replacement is beneficial for oocyte quality in patients with GHD.
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