GnRH antagonists in ovarian stimulation for IVF

B. C. Tarlatzis*, B. C. Fauser, E. M. Kolibianakis, K. Diedrich, P. Devroey, M. Aboulghar, J. Collins, P. G. Crosignani, G. Griesinger, S. Kol, V. N. Lan, W. Ledger, N. Macklon, R. Millar, F. Olivennes, L. J.F. Rombauts, D. Shapiro, C. Simon, A. Tavaniotou, H. Tournaye

*Corresponding author for this work
178 Citations (Scopus)


The present review describes, on the basis of the currently available evidence, the consensus reached by a group of experts on the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists in ovarian stimulation for IVF. The single or multiple low-dose administration of GnRH antagonist during the late-follicular phase effectively prevents a premature rise in serum luteinizing hormone (LH) levels in most women. Although controversy remains, most comparative studies suggest a slight, not significant reduction in the probability of pregnancy after IVF using GnRH antagonist versus GnRH agonist co-treatment. Published meta-analyses suggest that this slight difference in pregnancy rates is not attributed to chance. Further studies applying varying treatment regimens and outcome measures are required. Data are not in favour of a need to modify the starting dose of gonadotropins. Data are not in favour of increasing gonadotropin dose at GnRH antagonist initiation. The addition of LH from the initiation of ovarian stimulation or from GnRH antagonist administration does not appear to be necessary. Replacement of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) by GnRH agonist for triggering final oocyte maturation is associated with a lower probability of pregnancy. The optimal timing for HCG administration needs to be explored further. GnRH antagonist initiation on day 6 of stimulation appears to be superior to flexible initiation by a follicle of 14-16 mm, although earlier GnRH antagonist administration is worth further evaluation. Luteal phase supplementation in GnRH antagonist protocols remains mandatory in IVF. Effects of GnRH antagonist co-treatment on the incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome remains uncertain, although a trend is present in favour of the GnRH antagonists. The role of GnRH antagonists in ovarian stimulation for IVF appears to be promising, although many questions regarding preferred dose regimens and effects on clinical outcomes remain.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Reproduction Update
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)333-340
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 07.2006


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