Ovarian Needle Puncture for Follicle Activation in IVF Patients With Diminished Ovarian Reserve

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    Hacettepe University
Updated on 13 October 2022


Premature ovarian insufficiency (POI), is cessation of ovarian function characterized by hypergonadotropic amenorrhea and hypoestrogenic syndrome before 40 years of age. About 1% of women younger than 40 years old and 0.1% before 30 are affected. POI imposes a great challenge on women's reproductive and long-term health, such as infertility, amenorrhea, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. Most patients already had impaired or complete loss of fecundity when diagnosed. Currently, no optimal regimen exists to ameliorate ovarian function. Typically, they end up with egg donation or adoption as an alternative way. Less severe form of POI is diminished ovarian reserve (DOR). Although lack of consensus according to Bologna criteria cut off for DOR was defined as (antral follicle count (AFC) <5-7 follicles or anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH) <0.5-1.1 ng/ml).

Previously it has been showed that 24% of women with POI had resumption of ovarian function and 4% resulted in baby births. These data indicates residual follicles are available in atrophic ovaries and have potential for development and even fertilization. In routine IVF practice 15% percent of patients have poor ovarian response to ovarian stimulation. Patients with DOR with a previous poor ovarian response (cycles cancelled or yielding ≤3 oocytes with a conventional protocol) might have benefit from the strategies increasing follicle activation and number of growing follicles and oocyte retrieved. Therefore, strategies enabling ovarian resumption predictable and follicle activation feasible are promising for POI/DOR treatment. Recently, In vitro Activation (IVA) approach has been proposed and live births have been achieved in patients with POI. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) enzyme inhibitors and phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase activators could activate AKT pathway and activate the dormant follicles. Ovarian fragmentation could lead to ovarian primary follicle growth by interfering with Hippo signaling pathway. Residual follicles in patients with POI could be activated to develop for egg retrieval by combination of mechanical and chemical stimulation.

In 2019, Zhang et al retrospectively analyzed the follicle development and pregnancy outcome in 80 POI patients after laparoscopic ovarian biopsy/scratch without using chemical agents as was the case in IVA. 11 (13.75%) patients presented with ovarian function resumption, three metaphases II oocytes were retrieved in 10 patients and two embryos were formed and freshly transferred followed by a healthy singleton delivery in 1 (1.25%) patient. They concluded that the technique of ovarian biopsy/scratch without chemical activation could promote follicle development in vivo, suggesting it could bring promising benefits for some women with POI.

In patient with POI/DOR, activation of residual follicles is a promising option and further studies are warranted. Previous studies included laparoscopic surgery which may lead to possible surgical complications. Without using chemical agents and laparoscopic surgery, main object of this study is mechanical follicle activation with trans-vaginal ovarian needle puncture with 17 gauge oocyte pickup needle in IVF patients with DOR.

Condition Activation of Primordial Follicles
Treatment Ovarian puncture
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04608695
SponsorHacettepe University
Last Modified on13 October 2022


Yes No Not Sure

Inclusion Criteria

Patients with diminished ovarian reserve
<3 oocytes collected in previous cycle (with anti-mullerian hormone <0.5 ng/mL and/or antral follicle count <5)
Cycles stimulated with flexible antagonist protocol
Cycles triggered with recombinant hCG
Fresh transfer cycles
Patients with <40 years of age
BMI <30 kg/m2

Exclusion Criteria

Preimplantation genetic testing
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