ATLANTA -- Preliminary research by a fertility specialist at the University at Buffalo shows for the first time that a hormone whose role in fertility was thought to be limited to triggering ovulation also can support growth of a developing egg follicle during fertility treatment.
Results of the research were presented here today (March 13, 1998) at the annual meeting of the Society for Gynecological Investigation.
The findings suggest that lutenizing hormone (LH), a hormone present in the second half of the menstrual cycle, may perform the critical task of sustaining the growth of egg follicles until ovulation, said Michael W. Sullivan, M.D., UB assistant professor of gynecology and obstetrics and lead researcher on the study.
They have important implications for women undergoing fertility treatments, Sullivan said, because specialists formerly thought the only way to keep a developing egg growing was to administer follicle stimulating hormone, or FSH, which also causes multiple eggs to mature.
By manipulating LH and FSH, Sullivan said it could be possible to sustain the growth and development of one or two follicles in women undergoing fertility treatment while preventing multiple ovulations and thus decreasing the risk of multiple births.
"Nobody has looked at this before, because it wasn't possible until the development of the recombinant form of the two hormones, which happened very recently," Sullivan said. "The finding is very preliminary, but it is promising."