Recombinant human luteinizing hormone co-treatment in ovarian stimulation for assisted reproductive technology in women of advanced reproductive age: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Alessandro Conforti, Sandro C. Esteves, Peter Humaidan, Salvatore Longobardi, Thomas D’Hooghe, Raoul Orvieto, Alberto Vaiarelli, Danilo Cimadomo, Laura Rienzi, Filippo Maria Ubaldi, Fulvio Zullo and Carlo Alviggi

Reproductive Biology and Endocrinology – Published: 



Introduction: Several studies suggest that luteinizing hormone (LH) could improve IVF outcome in women of advanced reproductive age by optimizing androgen production. In this review, we assessed the role of recombinant-human LH (r-hLH) and recombinant human follicle stimulating hormone (r-hFSH) co-treatment in ovarian stimulation for assisted reproductive technology in women of advanced reproductive age candidates for assisted reproduction.

Material and methods: Using a preregistered protocol we systematically searched Medline/PubMed, Scopus and the ISI Web of Science databases to identify randomized controlled trials in which r-hFSH monotherapy protocols were compared with r-hFSH/r-hLH co-treatment in women ≥35 years undergoing fresh IVF cycles. We calculated the pooled odds ratio (OR) for dichotomous data and the weight mean difference (WMD) for continuous data with an associated 95% confidence interval (CI). The meta-analyses were conducted using the random-effect model. P values < 0.05 were considered statistically significant. Subgroup analyses of all primary and secondary outcomes were performed only in women aged 35–40 years.

Results: Twelve studies were identified. In women aged between 35 and 40 years, r-hFSH/r-hLH co-treatment was associated with higher clinical pregnancy rates (OR 1.45, CI 95% 1.05–2.00, I2 = 0%, P = 0.03) and implantation rates (OR 1.49, CI 95% 1.10–2.01, I2 = 13%, P = 0.01) versus r-hFSH monotherapy. Fewer oocytes were retrieved in r-hFSH/r-hLH-treated patients than in r-hFSH-treated patients both in women aged ≥35 years (WMD -0.82 CI 95% -1.40 to − 0.24, I2 = 88%, P = 0.005) and in those aged between 35 and 40 years (WMD -1.03, CI − 1.89 to − 0.17, I2 = 0%, P = 0.02). The number of metaphase II oocytes, miscarriage rates and live birth rates did not differ between the two groups of women overall or in subgroup analysis.

Conclusion: Although more oocytes were retrieved in patients who underwent r-hFSH monotherapy, this meta-analysis suggests that r-hFSH/r-hLH co-treatment improves clinical pregnancy and implantation rates in women between 35 and 40 years of age undergoing ovarian stimulation for assisted reproduction technology. However, more RCTs using narrower age ranges in advanced age women are warranted to corroborate these findings.

Keywords: Luteinizing hormone, Recombinant luteinizing hormone, Assisted reproductive technology, In vitro fertilization, Advanced reproductive age