The use of gonadotrophins as a first-line treatment for anovulatory infertility has been limited by a perception of a risk of multi-fetal gestation and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). However, it has recently been recognised as an acceptable first-line treatment if appropriate monitoring is performed.
To determine the cumulative live birth rate, incidence of multiple gestation, cycle cancellation rate and incidence of OHSS for therapy-naïve anovulatory women undergoing ovulation induction with gonadotrophins.
A prospective observational study of 258 patients undergoing ovulation induction with a ‘low-dose step-up’ protocol was performed over a three-year period across two fertility centres (40% of patients were currently or recently prescribed metformin).
Twenty-six percent of patients required concurrent use of luteinising hormone. The cumulative pregnancy and live birth rates were 22.5% and 18.2%, 40.3% and 34.5%, 47.7% and 41.1% after completion of the first, second and third cycles of stimulation, respectively, with a median duration of stimulation of 15 days. No patients developed OHSS and 10.5% of cycles were cancelled due to an excessive or no follicular response. The multiple pregnancy rate was 2%. The cumulative pregnancy rate was reduced for women over 35 years of age (23.8 vs 55.3%, P = 0.006) and for women with a body mass index greater than 25 kg/m (40.6 vs 56.7%, P = 0.027) CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated that ovulation induction with gonadotrophin therapy, in the context of appropriate monitoring, is a safe and effective treatment for young therapy-naïve patients with anovulatory infertility.

© 2020 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.