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Keywords:

  • Autoantibodies;
  • autoimmunity;
  • ovarian antibodies;
  • reproductive failure

Geva E, Fait G, Lerner-Geva L, Lessing JB, Swart: T, Wolman I, Daniel Y, Amit A. The possible role of antiovary antibodies in repeated in vitro fertilization failures. AJRI 1999; 42:292–296 © Munksgaard, Copenhagen

PROBLEM: The study was conducted to investigate the possible role of circulating ovarian autoantibodies (ov-ab) in patients with repeated in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) failure and to evaluate the effectiveness of immunosuppression treatment in these patients.

METHOD OF STUDY: The study group comprised 80 IVF patients who had five or more failed treatment cycles (mean 10.2; range 7–22). The presence of ov-ab was compared between these women and 1) 50 IVF patients who conceived during the first three treatment cycles; 2) 50 healthy nulligravidae. All participants were seronegative to nonorgan-specific and antithyroid autoantibodies. Patients in the study group who were positive for ov-ab were treated with 10 mg/day prednisone starting 1 month before ovulation induction. Embryo grading was compared in the IVF cycles before and after treatment.

RESULTS: Ov-ab were found in ten patients (12.5%) in the study group, compared to none in the control groups (P = 0.01). Nine of the patients positive for ov-ab were treated with prednisone for their following cycle. A statistically significant improvement in embryo grading was noted. Three patients conceived after treatment (33%), with a take-home baby rate of 22%, compared to only six patients (8.6%) who conceived among the rest of the seronegative study group, with a take-home baby rate of 7.1% (P = 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Ov-ab are a possible marker of an autoimmune disorder that may be one of the causes of repeated IVF failures. Immunosuppression treatment may prove efficient in ov-ab seropositive patients with repeated IVF failures by improving embryo grading and pregnancy rate.