Vitamin D may be key for pregnant women with polycystic ovary syndrome

November 03, 2017

SAN ANTONIO -- Vitamin D may play a key role in helping some women seeking treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-related infertility get pregnant. PCOS is a hormonal disorder affecting 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age. Left untreated, the condition can lead to long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and infertility due to lack of ovulation. Results of the new study, led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, showed women who were Vitamin D deficient when starting fertility treatments were 40 percent less likely to achieve a pregnancy. The results were presented this week at the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress & Expo in San Antonio, Texas.

"Traditionally, Vitamin D is a concern because of its impact on calcium absorption and bone integrity, but the last several years have seen a surge in research exploring how other biological processes -- like fertility -- are impacted by a dearth of this critical nutrient," said lead author Samantha Butts, MD, MSCE, an associate professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. "Our study builds on existing research linking vitamin D deficiency and diminished ovulation in response to fertility medications, and diminished likelihood of achieving a pregnancy that results in delivery of a live born infant showing it plays a significant role in fertility of women with PCOS."

In the study, Butts and colleagues analyzed and compared the results of two large-scale clinical trials (PPCOS II and AMIGOS), which examined the effectiveness of fertility drugs on improving pregnancy rates among women with PCOS and Unexplained Infertility respectively. Data from more than 1,000 participants revealed that regardless of body mass index, race, age, markers of metabolic functioning, or fertility treatment, vitamin D deficiency was associated with a reduced likelihood of these women becoming pregnant and delivering babies if PCOS was the underlying cause of infertility. A relationship between vitamin D deficiency and fertility treatment outcomes was not seen in the subjects from the AMIGOS trial who had Unexplained Infertility.

The authors note that perhaps the most significant finding is that vitamin D deficiency seemed only to affect women with PCOS. Women whose infertility did not have a known cause (Unexplained Infertility) were not at an increased risk of difficulty getting pregnant or complications during pregnancy.

"We've identified an important association between low vitamin D levels, and the likelihood of delivering a baby that seems to vary according to the underlying cause of infertility," Butts says. "More research is needed to establish which patients with infertility would benefit the most from screening for vitamin D deficiency. If we're going to shift our screening practices, we need to base that on additional research that looks at even larger numbers of women than we have thus far.

Butts and colleagues are currently working on studies that she says will further clarify these relationships and help care providers to be more precise and personalized in treatment plans.
-end-
Other Penn authors on the study are Suneeta Senapati and Nathan Koelper.

Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $6.7 billion enterprise.

The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $392 million awarded in the 2016 fiscal year.

The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.

Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2016, Penn Medicine provided $393 million to benefit our community.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine

Related Fertility Articles from Brightsurf:

What are your chances of having a second IVF baby after fertility treatment for the first?
As the restrictions on fertility clinics start to be lifted and IVF treatment resumes, research published in Human Reproduction journal offers reassuring news to women who have had to delay their treatment for a second IVF baby because of the coronavirus.

Fertility preservation use among transgender adolescents
Transgender adolescents often seek hormonal intervention to achieve a body consistent with their gender identity and those interventions affect reproductive function.

A new way to assess male fertility
Current tests for male fertility include measuring the concentration and motility of spermatozoa.

Male fertility after chemotherapy: New questions raised
Professor Delb├Ęs, who specializes in reproductive toxicology, conducted a pilot study in collaboration with oncologists and fertility specialists from the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) on a cohort of 13 patients, all survivors of pediatric leukemia and lymphoma.

Vaping may harm fertility in young women
E-cigarette usage may impair fertility and pregnancy outcomes, according to a mouse study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Are fertility apps useful?
Researchers at EPFL and Stanford have carried out an analysis of the largest datasets from fertility awareness apps.

Marijuana and fertility: Five things to know
For patients who smoke marijuana and their physicians, 'Five things to know about ... marijuana and fertility' provides useful information for people who may want to conceive.

How could a changing climate affect human fertility?
Human adaptation to climate change may include changes in fertility, according to a new study by an international group of researchers.

Migrants face a trade-off between status and fertility
Researchers from the universities of Helsinki, Turku and Missouri as well as the Family Federation of Finland present the first results from a new, extraordinarily comprehensive population-wide dataset that details the lives of over 160,000 World War II evacuees in terms of integration.

Phthalates may impair fertility in female mice
A phthalate found in many plastic and personal care products may decrease fertility in female mice, a new study found.

Read More: Fertility News and Fertility Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.