Human growth hormone for poor responders: a randomized placebo-controlled trial provides no evidence for improved live birth rate

Robert J. Norman, Helen Alvino, Louise M. Hull, Ben W. Mol, Roger J. Hart, Thu Lan Kelly, Luk Rombauts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)


Research question: Does the addition of human growth hormone (HGH) to an IVF cycle improve the live birth rate in previously documented poor responders to FSH? Design: Double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial comparing HGH to placebo in maximal stimulation in an IVF cycle. The study was stopped after 4 years. Women receiving ovarian stimulation in one IVF cycle, having failed to produce more than 5 eggs in a previous cycle with more than 250 IU/day of FSH were included. Basal FSH was ≤15 IU/l, body mass index <33 kg/m2, age <41 years. HGH or placebo were added from the start of the cycle in a double-blinded manner. The primary outcome was live birth rate. Main results: The live birth rates following an IVF cycle were 9/62 (14.5%) for growth hormone and 7/51 (13.7%) for the placebo group (risk difference 0.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] –12.1 to 13.7%; odds ratio [OR] 1.07, 95% CI 0.37–3.10). There was a greater odds of oocyte retrieval with growth hormone (OR 5.67, 95% CI 1.54–20.80) but no better chance of embryo transfer (OR 1.42, 95% CI 0.50–4.00). Birth weights were comparable. Conclusions: Planned participant numbers were not reached. It was not possible to demonstrate an increase in live birth rate from the addition of growth hormone in women with a previous poor ovarian response to IVF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-915
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive BioMedicine Online
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jun 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Human growth hormone
  • IVF
  • Live birth
  • Poor responders
  • Randomized controlled trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Developmental Biology

Cite this