Relax And Conceive

A study presented October 19, 2009, at the 65th meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that women participants in a stress management program just before or concurrent with a second IVF cycle increased their pregnancy rates by a whopping 160% when compared to those women who didn’t take part in such a program.

Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., funded the study which was carried out by The Domar Center, located at Boston IVF. The study revealed that the pregnancy rate was 52% among women who took part in the stress management program as compared to only a 20% conception rate for those women who didn’t participate in the stress management program. The intention of the program was to teach women how to use a variety of techniques to manage stress.

Borderline Depression

The program had an even more powerful effect on those women with borderline symptoms of depression. Their pregnancy rates leaped to 67% for those who took part in the program as compared to 0% in those women with depressive symptoms who did not participate in the program.

Executive Director for The Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, Alice Domar Ph.D., says, “Reproductive health experts have long wondered about the impact that stress may have on fertility, thus impeding a woman’s ability to conceive.”

Minimize Stress

The Domar Center is located at Boston IVF. Dr. Domar is also assistant professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. “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,” says Domar.

The stress management program used for this study is a 10-session mind/body program including cognitive behavioral techniques, relaxation training, and group support. Janet Nikolovsky, Ph.D, Manager, R&D at Johnson & Johnson says, “With stress increasing over the last decade and being associated with health concerns, we are committed to advancing clinical research on stress. The goal is to provide solutions that reduce stress and its emotional and physical impact on women so that they can lead happier and healthier lives.”

The study included 97 IVF patients aged 40 or below and was conducted over the course of two IVF cycles. The women had FSH/E2 levels of 12 and 80 or below on day 3 of their cycles. The women were randomly selected to participate in the 10 session program or relegated to the control group.

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