Background: Diclofenac inhibits follicle rupture and its use in natural-cycle in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET) has been reported to increase oocyte retrieval chances but has not been reported to improve the therapeutic outcome (live birth). The question is whether the therapeutic utility of diclofenac is demonstrable when administered to a subgroup of women with an imminent LH surge, a higher risk group for premature ovulation.
Methods: Infertile women indicated for the natural-cycle IVF-ET between September 2014 and February 2015 (n=183) were recruited in a private infertility clinic and diclofenac use (50 mg suppositories, thrice every 8 h before oocyte retrieval) was offered when their serum LH level was ≥14.0 IU/L on an LH-triggering day (n=137). Of the 137 women, 108 electively used diclofenac and 29 did not. Oocytes were retrieved from both dominant and subordinate nondominant follicles and were fertilized. The resulting blastocysts were frozen, thawed, and transferred one by one in the following spontaneous ovulatory or hormone replacement cycles.
Results: Cumulative live birth rate (after the single oocyte retrieval) was calculated from the dominant and nondominant follicles. The live birth rate from dominant follicles was higher in the diclofenac group (21/108, 19%) than in the no diclofenac group (1/29, 3%) (P < .05). Conversely, the live birth rate from nondominant follicles, which had no potential for ovulation, was not different between the diclofenac group (13/108, 12%) and the no diclofenac group (3/29, 10%).
Conclusion: Diclofenac improved the live birth rate from dominant follicles when it was administered to women with an imminent LH surge. However, diclofenac did not affect the live birth rate from non-dominant follicles which were not at risk of follicle rupture.