DHEA for Fertility- Understanding How It Helps
Nearly 50 million couples in the world suffer from some kind of infertility, usually due to biological issues both in women, men, and in many cases both at the same time.
As people grappling with infertility try to start a family, they often are bombarded with a great deal of information. Some of this information is useful, but the issue is to sift through all that information and find the things that matter. One such thing is DHEA for Fertility.
If you have considered In vitro fertilization (IVF), it is very likely that you have heard of DHEA from your doctor in some context. Here we will tell you what is DHEA, why your doctor might recommend DHEA for Fertility, and answers to questions such as “how much DHEA should I take for fertility”, “when to take DHEA?”, and “when to stop taking DHEA?”
What is DHEA?
The naturally occurring hormone DHEA or Dehydroepiandrosterone is primarily produced in the body by the adrenal gland. Over the years, interest has grown in this hormone regarding infertility management. The use of DHEA for fertility management is fairly new and is often reserved for helping women suffering from a poor ovarian response (POR) and diminished ovarian response (DOR).
This hormone’s concentration in the body decreases as a person ages. DHEA is in the highest concentrations in early adulthood and as the age increases, the concentrations drop. DHEA is very important for fertility as it is used by the body to make other reproductive hormones called estrogen and testosterone, in women and men respectively.
In conditions like POR and DOR, women are often left with a very low number of functional eggs in their ovaries. As the age of a woman increases, it is likely that ovarian response to ovulation stimulation drugs will decrease. It is often seen as well that women in advanced ages are likely to have reduced pregnancy rates, increased risk of miscarriage, and the potential for chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus/child.
Though it has been seen that women with these conditions can sometimes have spontaneous pregnancies that result in live births, it is also true that the rate of these live births is significantly lower. Even with therapies like IVF, women are likely to suffer from pregnancy loss, reduced embryo quality, and poor response to ovulation stimulation.
So, your doctor might also recommend additional remedies that can enhance the chances of pregnancy. These can include herbal therapies, acupuncture, and supplementation with DHEA, Melatonin, and Co-Q-10.
The Connection Between Dehydroepiandrosterone and Fertility
Dehydroepiandrosterone and fertility are closely linked. Over the years studies have shown that DHEA can help improve chances of having a child in multiple ways. Hormone supplementation has been shown to increase ovarian response to fertility drugs, increased pregnancy rates, and increased the production of oocytes.
DHEA can also potentially reduce the risk of fetal abnormalities. But the issue is that this hormone cannot be obtained through any common food source in enough quantity to impact fertility outcomes.
DHEA is commonly available without prescription in the form of a supplement and can be consumed in the form of micro tablets.
DHEA Supplements for Infertility in Women- The Science Behind It
DHEA supplements for infertility have multiple ways of increasing your chances of having a child. Here are some of the ways that this hormone might help with infertility.
- In one study it was shown that DHEA supplementation doubled the IVF pregnancy rates of women compared to the ones who did not take it.
- DHEA can increase the chances of spontaneous pregnancy, as seen in a 2013 research study.
- DHEA supplementation can also potentially increase the quantity and quality of eggs and embryos in women.
- Use of DHEA might also decrease the risk of miscarriage and chromosomal abnormalities in the fetus.
Does DHEA supplement help Infertility in men?
Though many people will say that DHEA has anti-aging effects and can help improve fertility in men, this sadly is not the truth. In this article, we have explained that this hormone can help produce testosterone in the bodies of men. But this is not the only effect that DHEA has on a man’s body. It can also decrease the production of sperm in the male body. Read more here about DHEA for men.
Scientists often equate the use of DHEA by men to the use of anabolic steroids. It can affect the body for up to 6 months and can decrease the quality and quantity of the sperm. It might also contribute to testicular shrinkage. So, it is advised that men, who are trying to make their partner pregnant, should not be taking this particular hormone.
How Much DHEA Should I Take For Fertility?
If you are a woman who is trying to get pregnant and have low levels of DHEA, it is recommended that you take 75 mg of DHEA daily. Ideally, the dose should be divided into three equal doses, spread out over the day. This can help you avoid an upset stomach and keep a stable and constant supply of the hormone in your body.
It is also recommended that you start taking this supplement at least 6 to 8 weeks prior to the start of your fertility therapy, such as IVF. This can help the hormone to improve the ovarian environment and prep it for a better outcome.
You should also remember that the use of DHEA should be halted once you get pregnant. Why? Because the body produces enough DHEA once you are pregnant and outside supplementation is no longer required.
An important thing to note here is that once women start taking DHEA, the time to get pregnant can vary, as some women take longer to convert DHEA into androgens. Androgens are chemicals that can improve the quality of an egg.
Potential Side Effects of DHEA Supplements
DHEA is often well-tolerated by the human body and does not have any serious side effects. A well-reputed study found that the use of DHEA for 2 years did not produce any serious adverse outcomes.
However, in some instances, you might experience symptoms such as:
- Hair growth in women
- Oily skin
- Reduced HDL cholesterol
- Heart palpitations