Kisspeptin Hormones For Egg Retrieval

Women prone to developing Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) as a result of IVF therapies could have new options for treatment in the future.

Following several successful births, doctors in the UK are looking for ways to make an adapted, medical form of the human hormone, “Kisspeptin.” The hormone, which doctors believe to be instrumental to the onset of puberty, was used in human clinical trials as an alternative to traditional IVF therapies used to stimulate ovaries.

Traditionally, doctors have used hCG to stimulate the production of eggs in the ovaries. Doctors then retrieve those eggs, fertilize them, and transfer them back into a woman’s uterus. However, as many as 10% of women reported uncomfortable side effects from the treatment. The diagnosis was most frequently Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome. Intended mothers with diagnosed Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) were at the greatest risk of developing OHSS. While rarely developed and typically easy to resolve, OHSS can cause pain and kidney failure in the most extreme cases.

Doctors and researchers began to study this hormone, which is produced in the hypothalamus region of the brain, as a means of improving egg maturity rates while lowering the odds of developing OHSS. Since the body breaks this hormone down more quickly than hCG, researchers theorized that it would lead to a less severe reaction and lower odds at overstimulation of the ovaries. What they found was that, with two injections of the hormone, egg maturity and abundance paralleled that of a single hCG “trigger” injection.

As of late 2017, close to 70 babies have been born as a result of the new ovarian stimulation therapy. The success rate falls right at 36%, which researchers in the UK noted was 10% better than the IVF rate in similar cases.

Researchers hope to have a method better developed and capable of wider use within the next five years, noting that this could come close to eliminating cases of OHSS altogether.

The hormone was first discovered in 1996 in Hershey, Pennsylvania, and eventually named after the famed “Hershey Kiss.”



Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.