Those of us who work with polycystic ovarian syndrome patients on a daily basis toward achieving successful pregnancy have long observed the impressive capacity of their ovaries to respond to controlled stimulation. Additionally it has been noted by many investigators that one of the powerful laboratory predictors of egg quality, anti-mullerian hormone (AMH), is consistently found to be high in PCOS patients. The question has been whether this finding of high AMH levels is an accurate indicator of good egg quality or simply a reflection of the large numbers of small follicles present within the ovaries of these patients.
A recent study from Norway published in Human Reproduction compared two large groups of patients aged 22-41 undergoing IVF, one group with PCOS and the other group consisting of non-PCOS patients. They found that egg counts and live birth rates were preserved for the PCOS patients while thenon-PCOS patients had reduced egg counts and live birth rates as would be expected with advancing age.
These remarkable findings have great significance for PCOS patients and their physicians. It suggests that the usual reductions in fertility potential which we have come to expect in our older patients may not be applicable to our PCOS patients. This should lead to improved expectations for successful IVF treatment in spite of advancing age. Additionally, these findings may shed some light on ovarian aging and diminished ovarian reserve, leading to innovative new strategies for treating patients with these conditions.
Source: Human Reproduction September 2011 26 (9)