(A cura di Edgardo Somigliana)

Clomiphene, metformin, or both for infertility in the polycystic ovary syndrome.
Legro RS, Barnhart HX, Schlaff WD, Carr BR, Diamond MP, Carson SA, Steinkampf MP, Coutifaris C, McGovern PG, Cataldo NA, Gosman GG, Nestler JE, Giudice LC, Leppert PC, Myers ER; Cooperative Multicenter Reproductive Medicine Network.
N Engl J Med. 2007 Feb 8;356(6):551-66.

BACKGROUND: The polycystic ovary syndrome is a common cause of infertility. Clomiphene and insulin sensitizers are used alone and in combination to induce ovulation, but it is unknown whether one approach is superior. METHODS: We randomly assigned 626 infertile women with the polycystic ovary syndrome to receive clomiphene citrate plus placebo, extended-release metformin plus placebo, or a combination of metformin and clomiphene for up to 6 months. Medication was discontinued when pregnancy was confirmed, and subjects were followed until delivery. RESULTS: The live-birth rate was 22.5% (47 of 209 subjects) in the clomiphene group, 7.2% (15 of 208) in the metformin group, and 26.8% (56 of 209) in the combination-therapy group (P<0.001 for metformin vs. both clomiphene and combination therapy; P=0.31 for clomiphene vs. combination therapy). Among pregnancies, the rate of multiple pregnancy was 6.0% in the clomiphene group, 0% in the metformin group, and 3.1% in the combination-therapy group. The rates of first-trimester pregnancy loss did not differ significantly among the groups. However, the conception rate among subjects who ovulated was significantly lower in the metformin group (21.7%) than in either the clomiphene group (39.5%, P=0.002) or the combination-therapy group (46.0%, P<0.001). With the exception of pregnancy complications, adverse-event rates were similar in all groups, though gastrointestinal side effects were more frequent, and vasomotor and ovulatory symptoms less frequent, in the metformin group than in the clomiphene group. CONCLUSIONS: Clomiphene is superior to metformin in achieving live birth in infertile women with the polycystic ovary syndrome, although multiple birth is a complication.

A mild treatment strategy for in-vitro fertilisation: a randomised non-inferiority trial.
Heijnen EM, Eijkemans MJ, De Klerk C, Polinder S, Beckers NG, Klinkert ER, Broekmans FJ,
Passchier J, Te Velde ER, Macklon NS, Fauser BC.
Lancet. 2007 Mar 3;369(9563):743-9.

BACKGROUND: Mild in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment might lessen both patients' discomfort and multiple births, with their associated risks. We aimed to test the hypothesis that mild IVF treatment can achieve the same chance of a pregnancy resulting in term livebirth within 1 year compared with standard treatment, and can also reduce patients' discomfort, multiple pregnancies, and costs. METHODS: We did a randomised, non-inferiority effectiveness trial. 404 patients were randomly assigned to undergo either mild treatment (mild ovarian stimulation with gonadotropin-releasing hormone [GnRH] antagonist co-treatment combined with single embryo transfer) or a standard treatment (stimulation with a GnRH agonist long-protocol and transfer of two embryos). Primary endpoints were proportion of cumulative pregnancies leading to term livebirth within 1 year after randomisation (with a non-inferiority threshold of -12.5%), total costs per couple up to 6 weeks after expected date of delivery, and overall discomfort for patients. Analysis was by intention to treat. This trial is registered as an International Standard Randomised Clinical Trial, number ISRCTN35766970. FINDINGS: The proportions of cumulative pregnancies that resulted in term livebirth after 1 year were 43.4% with mild treatment and 44.7% with standard treatment (absolute number of patients=86 for both groups). The lower limit of the one-sided 95% CI was -9.8%. The proportion of couples with multiple pregnancy outcomes was 0.5% with mild IVF treatment versus 13.1% (p<0.0001) with standard treatment, and mean total costs were 8333 euros and 10745 euros, respectively (difference 2412 euros, 95% CI 703-4131). There were no significant differences between the groups in the anxiety, depression, physical discomfort, or sleep quality of the mother. INTERPRETATION: Over 1 year of treatment, cumulative rates of term livebirths and patients' discomfort are much the same for mild ovarian stimulation with single embryos transferred and for standard stimulation with two embryos transferred. However, a mild IVF treatment protocol can substantially reduce multiple pregnancy rates and overall costs.

Milder ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization reduces aneuploidy in the human preimplantation embryo: a randomized controlled trial.
Baart EB, Martini E, Eijkemans MJ, Van Opstal D, Beckers NG, Verhoeff A, Macklon NS, Fauser BC
Hum Reprod. 2007 Apr;22(4):980-8. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

BACKGROUND: To test whether ovarian stimulation for in-vitro fertilization (IVF) affects oocyte quality and thus chromosome segregation behaviour during meiosis and early embryo development, preimplantation genetic screening of embryos was employed in a prospective, randomized controlled trial, comparing two ovarian stimulation regimens. METHODS: Infertile patients under 38 years of age were randomly assigned to undergo a mild stimulation regimen using gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist co-treatment (67 patients), which does not disrupt secondary follicle recruitment, or a conventional high-dose exogenous gonadotrophin regimen and GnRH agonist co-treatment (44 patients). Following IVF, embryos were biopsied at the eight-cell stage and the copy number of 10 chromosomes was analysed in 1 or 2 blastomeres. RESULTS: The study was terminated prematurely, after an unplanned interim analysis (which included 61% of the planned number of patients) found a lower embryo aneuploidy rate following mild stimulation. Compared with conventional stimulation, significantly fewer oocytes and embryos were obtained following mild stimulation (P < 0.01 and < 0.05, respectively). Consequently, both regimens generated on average a similar number (1.8) of chromosomally normal embryos. Differences in rates of mosaic embryos suggest an effect of ovarian stimulation on mitotic segregation errors. CONCLUSIONS: Future ovarian stimulation strategies should avoid maximizing oocyte yield, but aim at generating a sufficient number of chromosomally normal embryos by reduced interference with ovarian physiology.

In vitro fertilization with preimplantation genetic screening.
Mastenbroek S, Twisk M, van Echten-Arends J, Sikkema-Raddatz B, Korevaar JC, Verhoeve HR,
Vogel NE, Arts EG, de Vries JW, Bossuyt PM, Buys CH, Heineman MJ, Repping S,vander Veen F.
N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 5;357(1):9-17. Epub 2007 Jul 4.

BACKGROUND: Pregnancy rates in women of advanced maternal age undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) are disappointingly low. It has been suggested that the use of preimplantation genetic screening of cleavage-stage embryos for aneuploidies may improve the effectiveness of IVF in these women. METHODS: We conducted a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, controlled trial comparing three cycles of IVF with and without preimplantation genetic screening in women 35 through 41 years of age. The primary outcome measure was ongoing pregnancy at 12 weeks of gestation. The secondary outcome measures were biochemical pregnancy, clinical pregnancy, miscarriage, and live birth. RESULTS: Four hundred eight women (206 assigned to preimplantation genetic screening and 202 assigned to the control group) underwent 836 cycles of IVF (434 cycles with and 402 cycles without preimplantation genetic screening). The ongoing-pregnancy rate was significantly lower in the women assigned to preimplantation genetic screening (52 of 206 women [25%]) than in those not assigned to preimplantation genetic screening (74 of 202 women [37%]; rate ratio, 0.69; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.51 to 0.93). The women assigned to preimplantation genetic screening also had a significantly lower live-birth rate (49 of 206 women [24%] vs. 71 of 202 women [35%]; rate ratio, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.50 to 0.92). CONCLUSIONS: Preimplantation genetic screening did not increase but instead significantly reduced the rates of ongoing pregnancies and live births after IVF in women of advanced maternal age.