Hi Dr. Ramirez,
I'm back again with a question about my recent IVF (second one). This IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle we did the same protocol as last time (antagonist) but started off at a higher dose of Gonal-f based on my response last cycle. This cycle we started off at 300iu gonal-f and 75iu menopur whereas last cycle we started with 225iu gonal f and 75 IU menopur but had to increase to 300 IU gonal f after day 4 showed an E2 of only 90. Both cycles I started out with similar AFCs of 10 and 12 at suppression check. My usual AFC is between 16-20. Last cycle it seemed that I recruited more follies along the way and ended up with an E2 of 3030 and 23 eggs retrieved (17 of which were mature based on icsi and conventional fert rates as we did 50/50 split fertilization). This cycle my E2 was 2100 at trigger and they retrieved 12 eggs (still waiting on fert report today but we are doing all conventional fertilization).
My question is why did I have such a different response this cycle given that we started off at a higher dose this cycle compared to last? Last cycle we went up from 225iu gonal to 300 IU gonal at day 4 and stayed there until trigger. this cycle we started at 300iu gonal and stayed there until we added ganirelex on day 7. At that point my E2 stalled and do they increased my gonal f to 375iu gonal f and kept me there until trigger.
As always thanks for your advice/insight. S. from the U.S.A.
Hello S. from the U.S. (Virginia).
The human body is not a consistent nor predictable structure so I can't explain why your response is different. I have always explained to patients that have low response to stims that the ovaries can react differently each cycle and your experience is a case in point. That being said, I would not have increased your dosage since your stimulation was so good the previous time and you bordered on entering OHSS territory. In any case, IVF is not a contest where the person with the highest number of follicles or eggs wins the prize. The goal is to find 1 or 2 perfect eggs that will lead to perfect embryos and a successful pregnancy. So despite the fact that you stimulated less, that might be a better thing. Bottom line is you only need one good one. Also, there have been some studies showing that when a patient stimulates hard with lots of follicles, sometimes the egg quality suffers and the pregnancy rate drops. This is especially true in PCO patients. In those patients, our preference is to stimulate less and get fewer follicles.
So, in any case, as the saying goes: "I don't think you should sweat the nitty gritty" i.e the fine details. Hope for the one perfect one. That is the goal.
Dr. Edward J. Ramirez, M.D., FACOG
Executive Medical Director
The Fertility and Gynecology Center
Monterey Bay IVF Program
Monterey, California, U.S.A.