Follicular activation in women previously diagnosed with poor ovarian response: a randomized, controlled trial

Ovarian fragmentation promoted follicle development and increased antral follicular counts but did not modify in vitro fertilization outcomes in women with poor ovarian response compared with controls.

VOLUME 117, ISSUE 4, P747-755


César Díaz-García, M.D., Ph.D., Sonia Herraiz, Ph.D., Loida Pamplona, M.D., Jessica Subirá, M.D., María José Soriano, B.Sc., Carlos Simon, M.D. Ph.D., Emre Seli, M.D., Ph.D., Antonio Pellicer, M.D. Ph.D.



To investigate whether ovarian fragmentation for follicular activation (OFFA) improves ovarian reserve markers and in vitro fertilization (IVF) outcomes in women with poor ovarian response (POR).


Randomized, controlled trial, with parallel assignment.


University hospital.


Thirty-four women with POR according to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology criteria.


Women with POR were randomly allocated to receive ovarian fragmentation in 1 ovary or to no intervention (control group). Ovarian reserve markers were followed at 2-week intervals for 6 months. In vitro fertilization cycles were initiated when the antral follicle count (AFC) doubled or at the end of follow-up.

Main Outcome Measure(s)

The primary outcome was the number of metaphase II (MII) oocytes obtained. Antral follicle count, antimüllerian hormone level, and reproductive outcomes were recorded as secondary outcomes. Exploratory outcomes included surgical results and analysis of protein and gene expression.


Ovarian fragmentation for follicular activation resulted in an increase in AFC in the intervention ovary compared with the control ovary and an increase in total AFC in the OFFA group compared with controls. Serum antimüllerian hormone and follicle-stimulating–hormone levels did not improve in the OFFA group throughout the follow-up period. Fifteen patients from each arm underwent IVF. In the control group, 33 MII oocytes were retrieved and 18 embryo transfers were performed, with a 20% pregnancy rate and an 18.7% live birth rate per cycle. In the OFFA group, 23 MII oocytes were retrieved and 11 embryo transfers were performed, with a 13.3% pregnancy rate and a 6.7% live birth rate per cycle. Reproductive outcomes did not significantly differ between the groups. Hippo pathway inhibition was confirmed by an 18.8% reduction in the phospho-YAP/YAP (Yes-associated protein 1) ratio and BIRC and CCN overexpression after fragmentation.


Ovarian fragmentation for follicular activation in women with POR resulted in an increase in AFC but did not modify IVF outcomes when compared with controls.

Clinical Trial Registration Number



Go to the profile of Pandiyan  Natarajan
4 months ago

Will the remedy be worse than the malady?

Women with low ovarian reserve aka poor ovarian reserve are often born with low ovarian reserve. Several medical measures like Growth Hormone therapy have been tried in the past with no convincing evidence for improvement in ovarian reserve or response.

Surgical intervention in the form of ovarian fragmentation may lead to adhesions and further compromise in Fertility. Will the remedy turn out to be worse than the malady?  

Professor Dr Pandiyan Natarajan,

Chief Consultant in Andrology and Reproductive Sciences,


Chettinad Super Speciality Hospital ( Retired )

Los Angeles, CA, Cary, NC, USA, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.