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Does suppressing luteinising hormone secretion reduce the miscarriage rate? Results of a randomised controlled trial

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 15 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1508
  1. K Clifford, research fellowa,
  2. R Rai, research fellowa,
  3. H Watson, research nursea,
  4. S Franks, professor of reproductive endocrinologya,
  5. L Regan, senior lecturer in obstetrics and gynaecologya
  1. a Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, St Mary's Hospital Medical School, London W2 1PG
  1. Correspondence to: Miss Regan.
  • Accepted 3 April 1996


Objective: To determine whether prepregnancy pituitary suppression of luteinising hormone secretion with a luteinising hormone releasing hormone analogue improves the outcome of pregnancy in ovulatory women with a history of recurrent miscarriage, polycystic ovaries, and hypersecretion of luteinising hormone.

Design: Randomised controlled trial.

Setting: Specialist recurrent miscarriage clinic.

Subjects: 106 women with a history of three or more consecutive first trimester miscarriages, polycystic ovaries, and hypersecretion of luteinising hormone.

Interventions: Women were randomised before conception to receive pituitary suppression with a luteinising hormone releasing hormone analogue followed by low dose ovulation induction and luteal phase progesterone (group 1) or were allowed to ovulate spontaneously and then given luteal phase progesterone alone or luteal phase placebo alone (group 2). No drugs were prescribed in pregnancy.

Main outcome measures: Conception and live birth rates over six cycles.

Results: Conception rates in the pituitary suppression and luteal phase support groups were 80% (40/50 women) and 82% (46/56) respectively (NS). Live birth rates were 65% (26/40) and 76% (35/46) respectively (NS). In the luteal phase support group there was no difference in the outcome of pregnancy between women given progesterone and those given placebo pessaries. Live birth rates from an intention to treat analysis were 52% (26/50 pregnancies) in the group given pituitary suppression and 63% (35/56) in the controls (NS).

Conclusions: Prepregnancy suppression of high luteinising hormone concentrations in ovulatory women with recurrent miscarriage and hypersecretion of luteinising hormone does not improve the outcome of pregnancy. The outcome of pregnancy without pituitary suppression is excellent.

Key messages

  • Hypersecretion of luteinising hormone seems not to be causally related to early pregnancy loss

  • Further research should be directed at other endocrine factors controlling implantation

  • Excellent live birth rates can be achieved with supportive care alone in a specialised clinic


  • Funding KC is funded by the Medical Research Council, RR by the Arthritis and Rheumatism Council.

  • Conflict of interest None.

  • Accepted 3 April 1996
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