Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stress and Infertility

In today's in-box, I got a news story about the positive effects of mind-body therapies for increasing pregnancy rates in those dealing with infertility. Although in the following article it is not called out, historically the type of mind-body therapy used at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has been Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Yoga.

Mind-Body Program Spikes Pregnancy Rates
in Women Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization

A study published in the June 1 issue of Fertility and Sterility found that women who participated in a mind-body program for stress reduction while undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment had significantly higher pregnancy rates than those who do not (52% vs 20%). Researchers who performed the study at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, Massachusetts, contend that stress can reduce probability of conception and note that the process of undergoing IVF can be significantly stressful. Patients in IVF programs report high rates of anxiety and depression, and though mind-body therapies designed to help women reduce stress earlier in the treatment process result in higher pregnancy rates, little was known about the impact of these therapies on women actively undergoing IVF.

To study the effects of mind-body therapies on IVF pregnancy outcomes, the research team recruited women who were about to begin treatment at a Boston IVF program. These women had to meet two criteria to be included: they had to be aged 40 years or younger and have normal hormonal levels. None of the participants had previously participated in a mind-body intervention.
The 143 participants were randomized into a study group that entered the mind-body program or a control group that received no mind-body instruction. All patients underwent IVF treatment and were tracked through two IVF cycles.
Once the mind-body program was underway, there was a significant increase in pregnancy rates in the treatment group. In fact, 52% of the women participating in the mind-body program became pregnant compared with 20% of the control group participants, a statistically significant difference. Not only did the study support the theory that psychological distress may adversely affect IVF outcome, but also that this distress can be relieved through a mind-body intervention.

Here is a link to an article I wrote about stress and infertility some years back:

And a quote from a study on the effects of hypnosis on increasing the success of fertility treatments:

This study suggests that the use of hypnosis during ET may significantly improve the IVF/ET cycle outcome in terms of increased implantation and clinical pregnancy rates. Furthermore, it seems that the patients' attitude to the treatment was more favorable.
"Impact of hypnosis during embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer: a case-control study." Levitas, E., A. Parmet, et al. (2006).Fertility and Sterility85(5): 1404-8.

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