STUDY QUESTION: Do infertile couples who recently utilized clomiphene citrate (CC) for ovulation induction or ovarian stimulation (<90 days previously) followed by a single euploid embryo transfer (SEET) have lower implantation potential compared with patients who were not exposed to CC within 90 days before embryo transfer (ET)? SUMMARY ANSWER: There does not appear to be an association between recent CC exposure and lower implantation potential in patients who undergo a frozen embryo transfer (FET) of euploid embryos. WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY: Clomiphene has been found to be associated with lower pregnancy rates when compared against other ovarian stimulation medications. The majority of published research about the effects of CC on implantation potential suggest an anti-estrogenic effect on the endometrium. Quality evidence and information about utilization of CC and its effect on implantation potential after euploid ETs is lacking in the literature. STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION: A retrospective cohort study with propensity score matching was carried out. We included all patients that underwent an autologous SEET from September 2016 to September 2022 at a single academic-private ART center. PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS: The study group included patients that had utilized CC during either ovulation induction cycles and/or controlled ovarian stimulation at least 90 days before FET. A propensity score-matched control group of patients that were unexposed to CC within 90 days prior to SEET was used for comparisons. The primary outcome was positive pregnancy test (defined as a positive serum b-hCG measured 9 days after ET), with other outcomes including clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, biochemical pregnancy loss, and clinical pregnancy loss rates per SEET. Multivariate regression analyses fitted with generalized estimating equations were utilized to analyze if there was an association between CC utilization and IVF outcomes. Furthermore, the study evaluated the cumulative effect of CC and endometrial receptivity in vivo and subsequent IVF outcomes. MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE: A total of 593 patients with utilization of CC in <90 days before ET were compared with 1779 matched controls. Positive pregnancy test rates were comparable among the control group and the CC exposed groups, respectively (74.3% versus 75.7%, P ¼ 0.79), as were clinical pregnancy (64.0% versus 65.0%, P ¼ 0.60), ongoing pregnancy (51.8% versus 53.2%, P ¼ 0.74), biochemical pregnancy loss (15.7% versus 14.03%, P ¼ 0.45), and clinical pregnancy loss rates were also comparable among cohorts (17.1% versus 18.1%, P ¼ 0.71). No association was found between utilization of clomiphene and lower implantation rates (adjusted odds ratio 0.95, 95% CI 0.76–1.18). Also, no differences were observed in sub-analyses based on multiple CC utilization periods. Finally, no association was found between the number of consecutive cumulative clomiphene cycles and sub-optimal IVF outcomes. LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION: The study has inherent bias that originated from its retrospective design. Serum levels of CC were not measured and sample size for the sub-analyses was small. WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS: There does not appear to be an association between recent CC exposure and lower implantation potential in patients who undergo a FET of euploid embryos. This finding remains consistent, even in patients who undergo multiple, consecutive clomiphene cycles prior to ET. There were no long-term effects of CC on endometrial development and clinical characteristics examined in this study. Patients that utilized CC medication prior to a SEET cycle for either ovarian stimulation or ovulation induction, can be assured that there is no evidence of a residual effect of recent CC administration that could jeopardize their pregnancy probability.
- clomiphene citrate
- controlled ovarian hyperstimulation
- frozen embryo transfer
- ovulation induction
- preimplantation genetic testing