- It has been suggested that adjunctive growth hormone (GH) therapy improves ovarian response and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcome in specific groups of patients. The correlation between insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and GH is well established. The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in plasma GH correlate with IGF blood levels in patients during IVF treatment. Thirty-six women undergoing IVF and embryo transfer (ET) were examined. Ovarian stimulation was carried out by gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists (GnRHa) and gonadotropins. Blood was drawn at the early and late follicular phase, on the day of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection and at the mid- and the late luteal phases. The samples were assayed for IGF-I, IGF-II, IGF-binding protein-3 (IGF BP-3), GH and estradiol. According to the IGF-I and GH plasma levels, patients were divided into three major groups: Group I consisted of patients in whom peak levels of GH reached more than 4 ng/ml and IGF-I decreased significantly. In this group, estradiol levels were 1863 ± 149 pg/ml. Group II consisted of patients in whom peak blood GH levels did not exceed 2.5 ng/ml and IGF-I level remained unchanged. In this group estradiol levels were 630 ± 57 pg/ml. Group III consisted of patients in whom blood GH levels were low and remined unchanged while estradiol levels were 1600 ± 420 pg/ml. In this group no significant increase in IGF levels were observed. There was no significant change in the levels of either IGF-II or IGF BP-3 in any of the groups. We can conclude that (1) there is a negative correlation between GH and IGF-I plasma levels in patients undergoing controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH)-IVF, when levels of estradiol and GH are elevated; (2) plasma levels of IGF-I under ovarian hyperstimulation are probably regulated by a multifactorial system; and (3) no correlation was found between the plasma levels of IGF-I and those of IGF-II and IGF BP-3 in all patient groups.