DHEA, also known as the youth hormone is an adrenal steroid hormone in the body synthesized by the adrenal glands and is then converted to androgens, estrogen and other hormones. These hormones are responsible to regulate fat and mineral metabolism, sexual and reproductive function, and energy levels. The level of DHEA increases until our body is in late 20s after that it starts declining with age Says Dr.Nitasha Gupta, Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist,Indira IVF Hospitals,New Delhi.
Women with diminished ovarian reserve due to the premature ovarian ageing have low androgen levels, and that a good androgen level is essential to development of eggs in the ovaries. Many patients who were told that they would never have baby without using donor egg discovered after taking DHEA supplements that they have conceived without any issue.
Through various studies done it has been found out that DHEA supplementation in women with DOR raises androgen levels and increases pregnancy chances via androgen receptors on the developing follicles. The pregnancy chances increases in the women whose androgen levels rise successfully after DHEA supplementation.
DHEA supplements helps by increasing the androgen levels within their ovarian environments to a normal range, which improves egg quality. The high-quality healthy eggs develop into high-quality embryos, which have the better chance of implantation and lower risks of miscarriage. DHEA supplements has made wonders for women with diminished ovarian reserve(DOR) through the practise of IVF. The pregnancy outcomes has been improved who suffer from premature ovarian ageing (or POA) as well as women over 40 whose ovarian reserve is declining as a part of the natural ageing process.
People use DHEA supplements to look younger, to feel better, and to improve their body composition. The DHEA supplement is also used to improve sex drive, build muscles, anti-ageing and many more.
Assisted Reproductive Technology(ART)
Assisted Reproductive Technology treats infertility. ART has enabled millions of infertile couples worldwide to have children. The technology includes fertility treatments that manipulate eggs, sperms and embryos outside the body in order to achieve a pregnancy. The procedure works by removing eggs from a woman’s body. The eggs are mixed with sperms to make embryos. And after that it is putted back in the women’s body. IVF is In vitro fertilisation which is the most common and effective type of ART.
How DHEA works on fertility?
The beneficial effects are :
- Increased IVF pregnancy rate
- Increased chance of spontaneous conceptions
- Shortened time to pregnancy
- Increased quality and quantity of eggs and embryos
- Decreased risk of marriage and chromosomal abnormalities in embryo.
- Improved cumulative pregnancy rates in patients under fertility treatment
Which IVF patient should use DHEA?
The following groups of women can start:
- Women over age 40.
- Women whose ovarian reserve parameters indicate that they have diminished ovarian reserve
The purpose of DHEA supplementation is to raise the androgen levels in the ovarian environment to its normal healthy range.
DHEA effects on IVF pregnancy rates come from the higher quality and quantity of eggs that women produce in IVF cycles. Women with diminished ovarian reserve have a small number of poor-quality egg. Poor quality eggs fail to fertilize and when they do fertilize, they often develop into poor-quality embryos that stop growing before embryo transfer, fail to implant, or stop developing in the uterus and end in miscarriages. The DHEA supplements should be taken at least 6-8 weeks before IVF cycle start for better egg quality and results.
Using DHEA safely
It is not safe to use DHEA for long time as it may cause hormonal imbalance. Body doesn’t need DHEA always especially as the age grows. Specialized practitioners in IVF know the right quantity of DHEA to be provided to patients to guide and advice on safe supplementation to prescribing bio-identical DHEA and managing overall hormone levels. Many DHEA supplements has high doses of the substance and could cause harm to the body if used in excess.
By: Dr. Nitasha Gupta, Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist, Indira IVF Hospitals, New Delhi