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DHEA & female fertility (infertility)

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February 22nd, 2011, 05:06 PM
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DHEA and fertility

Has the magic fountain of fertility youth been discovered? There have been some interesting articles in both the scientific and the lay press about DHEA and fertility. It was reported that a 43-year-old woman took DHEA before egg retrieval, and the result was that she produced many more eggs than in her previous egg retrievals. That is quite interesting, and it has led to the initiation of a placebo-controlled study at one fertility center.

But just increasing numbers of eggs is not necessarily valuable. They need to be good quality eggs, demonstrated by fewer abnormal oocytes and fewer miscarriages. Well, it appears that that might be the result as well. This would be important for women who are older than 38 and women with premature ovarian failure.

What is DHEA? Dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a naturally occuring hormone in both men and women. It is produced by the adrenal glands, and it peaks in our 20s. After that, it gradually declines, and by the time we are in our 70s, we have only about a third of the amount. That in and of itself is not necessarily bad as hormonal changes are normal with age. Just throwing in some DHEA will not make you younger!

DHEA's role in fertility is as a precursor to both testosterone and estradiol. As an adrenal hormone, it is not only important for fertility--another study showed that it improved cognition in women.

Now, here is the caveat: just adding more of a natural hormone is not always good for you. That should be obvious. How much should you take? Not clear, and I won't even offer advice on that. For how long? Some suggest that you have to supplement for four months before IVF. Does it have any side effects? In some people, it can cause heart palpitations and other side effects. That may be dose-dependent, of course.

If you're under 38, DHEA may not help you at all in regards to fertility. Now, if you're deficient in DHEA due to adrenal stress, it might help your overall feeling of well-being as well as fertility. You can get tested for your DHEA levels by your doctor. If you're about to undergo IVF, I recommend that you talk with your fertility doctor before you add in something like DHEA to your regimen. He or she may okay it and recommend a dose for you, or you may be told not to take it and why. IVF is expensive financially and emotionally, so trust your doctor's advice on this one.

The studies are underway right now, and in the future we might have better information on how much to take and who would benefit. If you're struggling with an IVF failure and how to make the next IVF a success, I understand that it's hard not to grasp at any possibility to improve your odds. If you're really interested in DHEA, search the internet for fertility centers that are participating in studies with DHEA rather than supplement on your own.
DHEA and fertility - Conception

DHEA Beneficial Effects
The investigators at CHR have been using the mild male hormone dehydroepiandrosterone DHEA now for a number of years very successfully in women with diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), whether their ovarian impairment is due to advanced age or premature ovarian aging (POA). In doing so, we have been able to demonstrate that in such women DHEA supplementation has quite remarkable beneficial effects (see Table 1), which all can be summarized as rejuvenating ovarian function.

Table 1: EFFECTS OF DHEA IN WOMEN WITH DOR Increases egg (oocyte) and embryo counts
Improves egg and embryo quality
Increases number of embryos available for embryo transfer
Increases euploid (chromosomally normal) embryos available
Speeds up time to pregnancy in fertility treatment
Increases spontaneously conceived pregnancies
Improves IVF pregnancy rates
Improves cumulative pregnancy rates in patients under treatment
Decreases spontaneous miscarriage rates
likely reduces aneuploidy (chromosomal abnormalities ) in embryos

Table 2: POSITIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF DHEA Improved overall feeling
Physically stronger
Improved sex drive
Mentally sharper
Better memory
Older Women Pregnancy, Premature Ovarian Failure and DHEA Treatment :: CHR

DHEA for Female Fertility
Aging is particularly hard on women's reproductive systems, specifically their ovaries. However, recent studies suggest that replacement therapy involving the endogenous hormone dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) may offer help for some women dealing with fertility issues relating to egg quality when prescribed and closely monitored by a physician.

Diminished Ovarian Reserve
A woman is born with all the eggs she will ever have. The supply of eggs begins to diminish before she is born and continues until she is through menopause. Each menstrual cycle, a portion of her remaining eggs emerge as "candidates" to be released into the fallopian tubes, and thus become available for fertilization. As she ages, the number and quality of those candidates declines, most sharply after age 35. In some cases, women much younger than 35 can be diagnosed as having premature ovarian failure (which results in diminished ovarian reserve). When combined with increased fluctuations in hormone levels, this can have a negative affect on a woman's ability to conceive.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA)
DHEA is a steroidal hormone that is able to turn into other steroidal hormones (estrogen and testosterone). DHEA is manufactured and secreted primarily by the adrenal grades of young men and women and appears to begin to diminish after age 30. DHEA is associated with mental acuity, physical strength, sex drive and memory.

Based on research conducted by the Center for Human Reproduction in New York, DHEA replacement therapy has been associated with increased embryo counts, increased embryo quality, improved fertility treament results, and decreased miscarriage rates in some women whose primary fertility challenge is diminished ovarian reserve. For women who experience Diminished Ovarian Reserve as a result of a sluggish adrenal system (often caused by stress, blood sugar imbalances and lifestyle factors) and, therefore, lack naturally occurring DEHA, carefully monitored DEHA replacement can provide the support aging ovaries need and, thereby, increase the chances of pregnancy.

Negative Effects
Because DHEA often turns to testosterone in the body, it can also negatively affect fertility in women who already produce average to above average of levels of testosterone. High levels of testosterone, in extreme cases, can cause a woman to stop ovulating. Even moderately increased amounts of DHEA or testosterone can affect a woman's cycle and result in undesirable side effects including acne and excessive hair growth. Although DEHA is available over the counter in the United States, testing should be carried out by a physician in order to determine need and appropriate dosages.

Diagnosis & Therapy Protocols
The first step in determining whether DHEA replacement is warranted is checking hormone levels. This is most often done through a 2-3 week battery of saliva tests (with testing occurring 1 day of each week) to determine whether a DHEA protocol will help or hamper a given woman's situation. These tests may not be available through a traditional doctor, but are often performed by naturopaths. Once it is decided the DHEA may benefit a woman, dosage should be determined by a qualified medical professional and hormone levels should continue to be monitored throughout the treatment cycle.
Read more: Dhea For Female Fertility | LIVESTRONG.COM

dhea for fertility - Bing
07/30/[email protected] 03.23.10 08/21/[email protected] EDD 04.21.10 02/08/[email protected] EDD 09.17.10
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March 6th, 2011, 12:12 PM
missy123's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Savannah GA
Posts: 13,418
As you know I have gotten pregnant twice using DHEA when the doctors said I had no chance so I am a huge believer!

I buy mine at Walmart for $4 and take 3 pills a day (75 mg total)

I hope this helps out some ladies out there.

Pregnancy Loss April 2009, September 2010
CP 10/2008, 1/3/11 {missing my babies every single day}Mommy to 4 Children - 3 boys ages 22, 21 and 18 & baby Scarlett
After 2.5 years TTC with 4 losses our Family was given the gift of Miss Scarlett
Do not ever give up hope...

Miss Scarlett... Our miracle girl still brings happy tears to my eyes.

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dhea, fertility, high fsh, infertility, ovarian failure, ttc, ttc over 40

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