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Primary Ovarian Insufficiency Patients Often Still Have Eggs

Discovery may lead to treatments for restoring fertility in young women

MONDAY, May 10 (HealthDay News) -- The majority of young women with primary ovarian insufficiency (POI) still have immature eggs in their ovaries, suggesting that treatment to restore fertility might be possible, according to research published in Fertility and Sterility.

Ziad R. Hubayter, M.D., of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., and colleagues conducted a case-control study with a nested prospective cohort to assess ovarian follicle function in women with 46,XX POI versus normal controls. Ninety-seven women with POI were enrolled along with 42 regularly menstruating women.

The researchers detected antral follicles of ≥3 mm in 73 percent of women with spontaneous POI, and these follicles were capable of producing ovarian hormones; those with larger (≥8 mm) antral follicles (45 percent of the women with POI) had greater estradiol and progesterone levels than the women with smaller follicles. Levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) were higher in the POI group than in the controls. After FSH stimulation, the estradiol response did not differ significantly between those POI patients who had an antral follicle of ≥8mm and those who did not. Compared to POI women with larger follicles, the investigators found that control women undergoing FSH stimulation did have a significant estradiol response.

"If inappropriate luteinization is the major underlying mechanism, then suppression of the LH levels should improve ovulation and conception rates. There is a need for additional prospective controlled studies designed to improve ovulatory function and fertility in women with 46,XX spontaneous POI," the authors conclude.

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