IVF: Just stay calm

accreditation
De-stressing is in line with other recent work suggesting that stress relief might up the success rate for women who have trouble conceiving.

"Women who are in infertility treatment do report huge amounts of stress," said Courtney Lynch, the head of reproductive epidemiology at The Ohio State University.

The study


In the current study, Alice Domar of Boston IVF and colleagues recruited 143 women who were about to undergo their first cycle of fertility treatment, and randomly assigned about half of them to a mind-body course intended to curb stress levels. The rest got a gift certificate to a spa.

The mind-body course consisted of 10 weekly classes during which women received talk therapy focused on changing negative thinking and training in relaxation and healthy behaviour.

Scientists then followed the women through two cycles of IVF. A total of 97 women - 46 in the stress-management group and 51 in the control group - completed at least one cycle.

The results were different for the second cycle, when most women taking stress-management classes had gone to at least five sessions. 52% of women taking the course got pregnant, versus 20% of women in the comparison group.

That finding "should give women a lot of hope," said Domar.

Why does stress harm?


Lynch said that chronic stress may cause changes in hormones that interfere with the development of eggs, making them slower to release. It may also interfere with the immune system in a way that increases the chance a woman's body will reject an embryo.

Lynch, who has worked with Domar, said that researchers' current focus is on finding the best program to reduce stress that is also convenient and inexpensive.

Already with fertility treatment, "you have to go to the physician's office many, many times," Lynch said. "What we're trying to do is find an effective at-home intervention. I would hope that we could come out with a book or a video or even a computer program that folks could access to do this."

Dr. Brian Cooper, of Mid-Iowa Fertility, said that this type of stress-management program is "a great option" -- for some patients.

"There's no one magic bullet for everyone," Cooper, who did not participate in the research, told Reuters Health. "Everyone finds their own way to de-stress."

The best way to reduce stress should be a topic for every IVF patient and her doctor to discuss together, he added.

What is your preference for relieving stress?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 1532 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 6536 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
38% - 5172 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 496 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.19
+0.4%
Rand - Pound
19.65
+0.9%
Rand - Euro
16.61
+1.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.53
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.7%
Gold
1,800.96
+0.6%
Silver
20.81
+2.5%
Palladium
2,221.50
-3.0%
Platinum
965.00
+0.4%
Brent Crude
99.60
+2.2%
Top 40
63,996
-1.0%
All Share
70,731
-0.8%
Resource 10
64,048
-2.8%
Industrial 25
86,577
-0.6%
Financial 15
16,059
+0.6%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE