We at Fertility Nutraceuticals (FNC) keeps thinking of DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) supplementation for women’s fertility as “new,” but believe it or not, the use of DHEA for female fertility reaches 10-year mark this year.
It was in 2004 that a fertility center in New York City—Center for Human Reproduction (CHR)—made the discovery that DHEA might improve ovarian reserve in older women. This discovery was made with help of a patient who supplemented with DHEA while in fertility treatment at CHR. The doctors didn’t know that she was on DHEA, and were surprised when they saw that her eggs were getting better and better as time went on. Finding out her “secret,” the doctors at CHR started researching the hormone’s benefits on ovarian reserve.
Research conducted by CHR and others, since then, has shown that DHEA increases the chance of pregnancy for women with low ovarian reserve. This benefit seems to stem from better quality of eggs after DHEA supplementation—when better eggs are fertilized by sperm, they grow into healthier embryos, and these embryos have a better chance of implanting and surviving in the uterus.
A testament to its fertility-enhancing properties, about 25% of IVF centers in the world now use DHEA in their fertility patients (according to a survey conducted in 2010). Of course, it wasn’t until FNC was established to make high-quality DHEA, made according to the quality specifications of CHR, that fertility-specific DHEA became widely available in the US, but the use of DHEA to boost women’s fertility has really become an established approach.
So, happy 10th year, fertility DHEA!