- This study was undertaken to investigate a possible relationship between endogenous secretion of growth hormone (GH) during ovarian stimulation and treatment outcome in patients undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryo transfer. Plasma samples obtained from 19 women who had successfully completed all stages of IVF/embryo transfer were analysed retrospectively. Based on the increase in GH during treatment, 11 GH responders and eight GH non-responders were identified. Mean daily GH concentrations for the GH responders and GH non-responders were 3.5 +/- 1.8 and 1.8 +/- 0.8, 5.4 +/- 2.3 and 0.5 +/- 0.2, and 9.0 +/- 1.9 and 0.7 +/- 0.1 ng/ml (P < 0.05) for days 10, 11 and 12 respectively. Plasma insulin-like growth factor-I slightly increased with treatment in both groups. No significant difference between these groups was found in relation to treatment duration, number of human menopausal gonadotrophin ampoules used, oestradiol peak values, and number of oocytes retrieved or fertilization rate. Seven of the 11 GH responder women conceived in comparison with one pregnancy among eight GH non-responder patients (P < 0.05). In view of the absence of differences in the clinical and laboratory parameters, we suggest that the occurrence of pregnancies among GH responder patients might be related to a positive local effect of GH or its mediators on uterine receptivity at the time of nidation.