Folate, Hormones and Infertility : Different factors affecting IVF pregnancy outcome

Sammanfattning: Various hormones have been studied as regards prediction of pregnancy outcome after infertility treatment, but no ideal candidate has been found. Folate and genetic variations in folate metabolism have also been associated with infertility, but it remains unclear how these factors affect IVF pregnancy outcome. It is known that infertility is associated with active folic acid supplement use, but the effect of socioeconomic and lifestyle factors on folic acid supplement use in infertile women has not been well investigated. The overall aim of this work was to obtain information on the prediction of live birth, and to study factors affecting the role of folate and folic acid intake in relation to IVF pregnancy outcome. Infertile women with various infertility diagnoses were studied. Healthy, fertile non-pregnant women were used as controls in three of the studies. Blood samples were taken for assay of eight different hormones, folate and homocysteine, and for genomic DNA extraction. A questionnaire was used to assess background data and use of folic acid supplements. Twenty-four-hour recall interviews were performed for validation of the questionnaire. The studied hormones were not good predictors of live birth. The best predictor was age of the women, together with ovulatory menstrual cycles, and thyroid-stimulating hormone and anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) status. Well-educated women, high-status employed women, and married and infertile women used the most folic acid supplements. Infertile women had better folate status than fertile women. However, pregnancy outcome after infertility treatment was not dependent on folic acid intake, folate status, genetic variation of 5,10-methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or socioeconomic status. In conclusion, AMH levels vary less than those of other hormones during the menstrual cycle, and AMH could be used as a predictive marker of live birth together with age and ovulation. Folate might play a minor role in IVF pregnancy outcome, but the importance of folate as regards other health perspectives should not be forgotten.