Page URL:

Relaxation helps the success of IVF

26 October 2009
Appeared in BioNews 531

Reducing stress may increase fertility, a new study suggests. At a fertility centre in Boston, US, some women took part in a stress management program in parallel with their IVF treatment whilst others did not. It was found that the program had no effect on how many women conceived at the first try. However, women who failed at the first attempt and were trying to get pregnant a second time, whilst using the stress management techniques, experienced a 160 per cent greater pregnancy rate than those receiving IVF treatment alone. These new findings were presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in Atlanta last week.

'Reproductive health experts have long wondered about the impact that stress may have on fertility, thus impeding a woman's ability to conceive,' said Alice Domar, of the Harvard Medical School, who runs the Boston fertility clinic. 'This study shows that stress management may improve pregnancy rates, minimizing the stress of fertility management itself, improving the success rates of IVF procedures, and ultimately, helping to alleviate the emotional burden for women who are facing challenges trying to conceive,' she added.

Domar and her colleagues randomly designated which of 97 of her patients would participate in a 10-session 'mind/body' program whilst undergoing IVF treatment. The program included relaxation training, cognitive-behavioural strategies and group support sessions. Of the women in the programme, 43 per cent became pregnant at the first attempt, with the additional stress management scheme having no effect. However, those that failed the first time and attempted a second round of IVF treatment apparently benefited from the stress management - with 52 per cent of the mind/body participants falling pregnant versus only 20 per cent of those who did not. The pregnancy rate jumped to 67 per cent for those women that took part in the program and exhibited 'higher baseline symptoms of depression' at the beginning of the study.

'It's clear based on this carefully designed study, that a holistic approach to infertility care leads to better outcomes for patients,' concluded Dr R Dale McClure, president of the ASRM.

New Study Reveals Link Between Stress Reduction and Increased Fertility
Reuters |  19 October 2009
Relaxation can improve fertility
ABC News |  20 October 2009
Relaxation therapy 'boosts IVF success rate'
The Evening Standard |  20 October 2009
Want to get pregnant? Just relax
Reuters |  19 October 2009
31 January 2011 - by Dr Lux Fatimathas 
Israeli researchers have shown a correlation between successful IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and 'medical clowning'. In a small-scale study a 'medical clown' was used to entertain women immediately following embryo implantation. A rise in the pregnancy rate was observed in the women subjected to medical clowning compared to controls...
17 January 2011 - by Dr Marianne Kennedy 
Scientists have found that the health of infants born through IVF depends on which techniques were used and their infertility diagnoses....
17 November 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
By Katy Sinclair Two new studies have found that acupuncture does not increase the chances of conception through IVF. The first study was conducted by Prentice Women's Hospital in Chicago, and was presented at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine conference in San Francisco, and the second was published in...
29 September 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
Researchers at the University of Southampton and Princess Anne Hospital in Southampton, UK, have found that women undergoing acupuncture at the same time as IVF increased their chances of having a baby from one in five to one in three. The research, published on the Cochrane Library's...
11 February 2008 - by Katy Sinclair 
By Katy Sinclair: A team of doctors from the University of Maryland and the University of Amsterdam have published a report in the British Medical Journal, claiming that acupuncture could increase IVF success rates by as much as 65 per cent. The team, led by researcher Eric Manheimer, reviewed seven...
18 November 2007 - by Dr Juliet Skinner 
The impact of stress and IVF outcome is complex. Many researchers have attempted to study the role of stress, some studies have suggested a strong link with high stress and poor outcome, and others have suggested no link between stress levels and IVF. The kernel of the problem is that...
23 October 2007 - by MacKenna Roberts 
By MacKenna Roberts: Contrary to the widely held belief that acupuncture enhances a woman's chances of successfully becoming pregnant whilst undergoing IVF treatment, a study at the University of Oklahoma found that women who combine acupuncture and IVF were 37 per cent less likely to conceive than those who underwent...
to add a Comment.

By posting a comment you agree to abide by the BioNews terms and conditions

Syndicate this story - click here to enquire about using this story.