Can Human Growth Hormone Improve Your Chances of IVF Success?
By Jane Starky
Up to 13% of couples have difficulty becoming pregnant in the U.S, according to the Department of Health & Human Services prompting many to turn to IVF. In vitro fertilization can have a high success rate, depending on a number of factors, including the type of fertility issues involved, such as age, the use of donor eggs, previous pregnancies, etc. Women considering IVF often take many preliminary steps to ensure their body is in optimal condition, including consuming a sound diet, attending Pilates classes to build a strong core (which is important during pregnancy) and opting for HGH injections in addition to traditional IVF treatment.
What is HGH (Human Growth Hormone)?
HGH is a hormone that is naturally produced by the body. Its functions include stimulating the liver to secrete Insulin-like Growth Factor (IGF-I), which in turn stimulates the production of cartilage cells, promotes bone growth, and enables muscle protein synthesis and organ growth.
HGH has appeared most often in the news because it is sometimes used in sports doping, especially in endurance sports (since it can boost muscle mass and strength and decrease body fat). A-Rod is arguably the most famous athlete banned for using this performance-enhancing hormone.
For medical use, HGH is created in a lab using bacteria cells, which are given the human DHA blueprint. HGH is sometimes recommended in IVF for use during the stimulation phase, and sometimes before. It doesn’t come cheap, at about $1,000 for four to six vials.
Can We Increase HGH Levels Naturally?
If you are receiving HGH injections, you can boost your own natural HGH levels alongside them by taking specific steps, including sleeping better (since your body releases most HGH when you are sleeping), considering supplementation of melatonin and arginine, exercising, consuming a healthy Mediterranean style diet, and losing weight (since having high amounts of body fat is linked to reduced HGH production).
Can HGH Increase the Chances of a Successful Pregnancy?
HGH is sometimes recommended as part of IVF treatment, though large-scale studies are still required to prove its effectiveness. Some studies have shown that the administration of HGH as an adjunct to ovarian stimulation can enhance follicle response in older women and those with diminished ovarian reserve.
One recent review found that there is "some evidence of increased pregnancy and birth rates in women who are considered 'poor responders' to IVF." A study on 136 women recruited from fertility centers in Australia and New Zealand, meanwhile, found that among women with poor response to IVF, the rate of clinical pregnancy achieved with HGH treatment was 14%, compared to 11% in the placebo group. Researchers have stated that the results fail to offer the strong evidence required to establish the efficiency of the treatment, since concrete evidence could only be provided by an “extremely large” randomized trial.
If you are having IVF and would like to know more about HGH, consult your doctor about whether or not it might be indicated for your case. HGH injections are not without side-effects, but you may decide it is worth incorporating it into your regular IVF treatment schedule.