Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone (GnRH) for Infertility
How It Works
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is
produced by the
hypothalamus. It stimulates the
pituitary gland to produce
luteinizing hormone (LH) and, to a lesser extent,
follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).
Why It Is Used
GnRH treatment is commonly
- When clomiphene (Clomid) treatment has not
stimulated egg follicles to develop on the ovaries.
GnRH works most effectively when used to replace the
natural GnRH in women and men whose bodies do not produce enough of it. GnRH
may be given:
- To a woman who is not ovulating because her
hypothalamus is not stimulating hormones that trigger
ovulation (hypothalamic amenorrhea).
- To a man who is not producing
sperm because his hypothalamus is not stimulating the hormones that trigger
How Well It Works
GnRH use results in few multiple
pregnancies (usually twins).
Some studies report that the pregnancy rate after a cycle of treatment with GnRH is about 20%.1
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug
Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
GnRH poses less risk of ovarian
hyperstimulation syndrome than does human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG),
another treatment for ovulation problems. The small pump used for GnRH may be
bothersome to some people. And hMG treatment requires daily monitoring by a
GnRH is used very rarely for women who have no menstrual
cycle because of a hypothalamus problem (hypothalamic amenorrhea). Some
reproductive endocrinologists might try human menopausal gonadotropin (hMG)
instead of GnRH.
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Lobo RA (2007). Infertility: Etiology, diagnostic
evaluation, management, prognosis. In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed., pp. 1001-1037.