Hormonal supplementation for preventing miscarriage
Studies show that injecting hCG (also known as pregnyl) before transferring an embryo can improve the success of the embryo’s implantation into the uterus.
The human chorionic gonadotrophin hormone, hCG for short, is a hormone produced by premature placental cells that can support implantation of the embryo into the uterus. Certain proteins can be activated by hCG to help this process along, hence the importance of hCG.
It also usually serves as an indication of pregnancy and is a woman’s best friend or her worst enemy. Your “beta” measurement is the measure of your hCG level. (“Beta” is only the hCG protein part that is detected by the test.)
Injecting hCG into the uterus using a catheter is a popular supplement to IVF and appears to help the embryo to implant; however, proof of this is inconsistent.
IGao (2019) conducted a meta-analysis of the available data and summarized 15 RCT studies (with a total of 2763 participants):
- The rate of live births increased: 44.89% with hCG compared to 29.76% without
- The rate of prolonged pregnancy increased: 48.09% with hCG compared to 33.42% without
- The rate of pregnancy increased: 47.80% with hCG compared to 32.78% without
- The rate of implantation increased: 31.64% with hCG compared to 22.52% without
- The rate of miscarriage decreased: 12.45% with hCG compared to 18.56% without
- The best results came from injecting a 500 IU dose of hCG less than 15 minutes before transferring the embryo.
These results seem quite positive but the researchers stressed that the study has its limitations and is not sufficiently consistent, and therefore it’s difficult to draw unequivocal conclusions from it. Still, this study suggests that there is a benefit here that is definitely worth investigating.
According to many studies, pregnyl reduces the likelihood of miscarriage by 26% in women who have had 3 miscarriages, and by 35% in women who have had 5 or more miscarriages.
According to another study, pregnyl is a very effective method of treatment for patients suffering from infertility, polycystic ovaries, and vaginal bleeding in early pregnancy.
The results of various studies show that there is no consensus on the effectiveness of progesterone hormone treatment for pregnancy.
According to one study, progesterone treatment in the first trimester of pregnancy does not result in a significantly higher rate of live births among women with a history of unexplained miscarriages.
This is in contrast to another study that showed that for women with unexplained repeated miscarriages, the addition of progesterone is likely to reduce the rate of miscarriage in subsequent pregnancies. Based on these results, progesterone supplementation appears to be associated with a small positive effect. According to this study, progesterone appears to be an effective intervention, especially for women with previous miscarriages.
Many studies refer to the addition of DHEA (short for dehydroepiandrosterone).
DHEA is often called “the fountain of youth hormone”, the hormone that “rejuvenates” eggs.
The DHEA hormone is responsible for the production of other sex hormones, mainly testosterone and estrogen. Even though testosterone is considered to be a male hormone, it can be found in a woman’s body, and is essential for her eggs to mature.
The levels of DHEA in the body peak when we’re in our 20s and, from that point on, are in a constant decline. Lower levels of this hormone as well as testosterone have been found to occur among women with a diminished ovarian reserve.
The DHEA supplement is recommended for women with a diminished ovarian reserve or for women who suffer from infertility as a result of their advanced age, during IVF treatments.
Studies show that the supplement can improve the egg count and the quality of the eggs. DHEA can also reduce the risk of miscarriage by increasing the normal number of eggs chromosomally.
Many studies have shown that DHEA can dramatically increase the chances of someone with a diminished ovarian reserve falling pregnant. Not only does it increase the number of eggs but also improves their quality and, by doing this, also reduces the rate of miscarriages.
If you have a diminished ovarian reserve, age-related infertility, an autoimmune disease (in cases of autoimmune diseases, the cells of the immune system attack healthy cells, tissues, and organs), or a history of early miscarriages, it’s important to check your DHEA-S and testosterone levels. If your levels are in the bottom half of the normal range, you need to consult with your doctor about taking the DHEA supplement in order to improve your chances of a healthy pregnancy. DHEA is a hormone and therefore it’s necessary to consult your doctor before starting to take it.
A study has found that DHEA helps reduce age-related miscarriages. The DHEA supplement improves the chances of conception among women with a diminished ovarian reserve by reducing chromosomal abnormalities. Since many studies connect spontaneous miscarriages to chromosomal abnormalities, it can be concluded that DHEA also reduces the rate of miscarriages.
After taking the DHEA supplement for 3 months, it was seen that the rate of miscarriages drops significantly at all ages but it was especially significant among patients over the age of 35. In the ovaries of a more mature woman, there is a deficiency of the testosterone hormone (which is the male hormone). This deficiency creates an environment that is hostile to maturing eggs and probably harms them. Taking the DHEA supplement (a derivative of the testosterone hormone) protects the eggs and provides them with a better hormonal environment in which to develop and mature.
In a study, women who took the DHEA supplement demonstrated a significant decrease in the number of miscarriages, with an almost 80% (!!!) decrease of the risk of a miscarriage occurring. The findings of this research can at least partially explain why the DHEA supplement increases the quality of the egg and the embryo, improves the pregnancy rate, and accelerates the time it takes to conceive.
It’s important to mention that the DHEA supplement, as described above, appears to be safe and has very minor side effects only. Because DHEA is a weak androgen and is converted into testosterone (and estradiol), it’s not surprising that it causes minor side effects, such as oily skin, mild acne, and hair loss, which are mainly androgenetic phenomena.
According to a meta-analysis, there is a link between DHEA and a significant increase in the likelihood of conceiving. In addition, when the link between taking DHEA and the probability of miscarriage was investigated, it was found that taking DHEA correlates with a significant drop in the probability of miscarriage.
Also, according to another study, the DHEA supplement is linked to an increase in the pregnancy rate. The DHEA supplement improves the results of IVR among patients with a diminished ovarian reserve, especially among women who have low levels of DHEA-S. Women with a diminished ovarian reserve who have taken the DHEA supplement before starting treatment and who have lower levels of DHEA-S, have a greater chance of having more than 3 eggs.
To remove any doubt, the contents of this article are intended to serve as a general overview only, and the information in it does not relate to a product nor is it intended to provide guidance, it does not comprise a certified medical recommendation, and it is not intended to instruct the public or to be used by it as advice, instruction, or a recommendation for the use, modification, or stopping use of any medication, and does not comprise a substitute for personal or other medical advice. Pregnant women, lactating women, children, and anyone taking prescription drugs must consult a doctor before using dietary supplements.