Vitamin D may play a key role in helping some women seeking treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-related infertility get pregnant. Results of the new study, led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, showed women who were vitamin D deficient when starting fertility treatments were 40 percent less likely to achieve a pregnancy. The results were presented at the annual American Society for Reproductive Medicine Scientific Congress & Expo in San Antonio, Texas.
“Our study builds on existing research linking vitamin D deficiency and diminished ovulation in response to fertility medications, and diminished likelihood of achieving a pregnancy that results in delivery of a live born infant showing it plays a significant role in fertility of women with PCOS,” said lead author Samantha Butts, MD, MSCE, an associate professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The authors note that perhaps the most significant finding is that vitamin D deficiency seemed only to affect women with PCOS. Women whose infertility did not have a known cause (unexplained infertility) were not at an increased risk of difficulty getting pregnant or complications during pregnancy.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder affecting 5 to 10 percent of women of reproductive age. Left untreated, the condition can lead to long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and infertility due to lack of ovulation.