Is the new era of ovulation’s stimulators coming?

Recently in the UK was born a child who had been conceived with using a new method of stimulation before the IVF with a natural hormone “kisspeptin”, which is also called as "protein kisses." A perfectly healthy boy weighing 3243 grams was born in April 2013. Scientists believe that the new methodology will significantly reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHS) – a complication that may appear during the IVF.

Results of first clinical trials of a new, softer method of ovarian stimulation were presented at the annual conference of the Society of Endocrinology ENDO 2013 in San Francisco.

The “kisspeptin” hormone was discovered in 1999 in America and got its name from the famous factory Hershey's Kiss, producing chocolate, which was situated nearby the laboratory.

Lab specialists have found that this natural substance, produced by the body, is responsible for beginning of puberty and regulates human reproduction in the future. It was found that kisspeptin makes cells of the brain work more actively. These cells are responsible for the production of a hormone that controls the levels of luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones (LH and FSH), which determine an occurrence of ovulation and, hence, the possibility of conception. A study, conducted in 2009 at London's Imperial College, has shown that usage of kisspeptin by women with low levels of sex hormones leads to a 48-fold increase of LH’s levels and 16-fold increase of FSH’s levels. It led to the conclusion that kisspeptin very effectively, but more gently stimulates the reproductive system, allowing natural regulating and the protective mechanisms of the organism to work.

In July 2012, experts of the same Imperial College and Hammersmith Hospital have launched a clinical trials of kisspeptin on a group of 30 women. After hormone injections, 29 tested women had ovulation occurred, embryos have been received from 28 of them, and on the 12th day after embryo transfer pregnancy was reported in 11 cases. In April 2013, 34-year-old Suzanne Kidd was the first of participants of the experiment who gave birth to a healthy son.

Now scientists are going to test kisspeptin among women who are at risk group, particularly those, who are suffering from ovaries’ polycystic, to be convinced of the effectiveness of a new method.

Experts believe that success of first clinical trials of kisspeptin allows to speak about an era of softer and safer IVF, which will not put a woman's health at risk of OHS.

Indeed, the ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome is the most dangerous complication after IVF treatment and it takes place in a small number of cases where the procedure is made by unqualified doctors. I think there is no sense to argue with the fact that hormone therapy is a stress to the body in any case, so the appearance of new, softer methods of stimulation can only be welcome. However, at this point, I wouldn’t talk about "a new era in IVF." After all, tests have been conducted only on 30 participators, and they were not at risk of OHS. So for now, I’d recommend to use, probably not the most healthy, but at least proven for decades hormones, such as menopur, gonal and puregon. If all subsequent tests of kisspeptin are successful - I will be the first who supports the new preparation.