In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I would like to remind those struggling with infertility to remember that suffering in silence may not be helpful. Today I will discuss how stress relief and talking about your struggles may help to benefit your mind, body, and infertility.
Let’s admit it¦Struggling with infertility is stressful! There have been numerous studies looking at stress and its effect on infertility treatments. Although there is some controversy as to whether stress truly has an impact upon IVF outcomes, I believe that decreasing stress can often benefit your mind and body. Stress relief may have an added benefit of helping you manage your emotional struggles with infertility. One of the world’s preeminent authorities on stress and infertility, Dr. Alice Domar, agrees.
Dr. Domar and her colleagues recently published a paper in the journal Fertility and Sterility about stress relief treatments and their effect on IVF success rates. Here is a brief description of that study: Dr. Domar studied 143 women who were 40 or younger and about to begin their first IVF cycle. Half of the participants in the study participated in a 10 minute Mind/Body group session while the other participants did not. The Mind/Body Program for Infertility is described as “a 10-week group stress management program whose focus is on cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation training, negative health behavior modification, and social support components.
The study found that Mind/Body group session participation was associated with increased pregnancy rates for couples who underwent a second IVF cycle. Although Dr. Domar’s study was small, it certainly suggests that there is a link between stress and IVF outcomes. The study suggests that group-based stress relief sessions might have a positive impact on IVF success rates. While other studies suggest that stress may not affect IVF outcomes, Dr. Domar states, Distress is the most common reason given by women who voluntarily terminate treatment. And we all know that it’s often harder to get pregnant if you don’t try the recommended fertility treatments.
If you are struggling to conceive, consider joining an online support group, attending individual or group counseling or talking with your spouse or support network to find stress relief. This may help you find more peace of mind when trying to get pregnant. Sometimes a decrease in stress can really help to make a difference in your journey.
Dr. Lowell T. Ku, M.D. is an award winning and leading Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist at Dallas IVF, one the nation’s premiere infertility centers. Doctor Ku clarifies the many confusing terms used in the world of Infertility using straightforward explanations.