Mind/body therapies may help women undergoing infertility treatment to beat stress and anxiety thereby boosting the IVF success rates, according to a study.
"The intersection of stress and fertility is a controversial one, but we do know that stress can reduce the probability of conception," said Alice Domar, principal investigator, OB/GYN, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF.
To study the effects of the mind/body therapies on IVF pregnancy outcomes, Domar's team conducted a comparison test on women aged 40 years or below with normal hormonal levels.
None of the participants had previously participated in a mind/body group.
The participants were divided into a study group that entered the mind/body therapies and a control group who received no mind/body intervention.
Domar tracked the groups through two IVF cycles.
In the first cycle, there was no difference in conception rates between the study group and the control group.
However, in the second cycle, majority of the patients in the study group had at least five sessions under their belts. "By that point, they had acquired some real life skills to deal with their stress," said Domar.
"And that's when we saw the significant increase in pregnancy rates."
Domar found that 52 pc of the women participating in the mind/body program for Infertility became pregnant compared with 20 pc of the control group participants, a statistically significant difference.
"The study supports the theory that psychological distress may be an important detriment to IVF outcome," the authors write.
The study has been published in Fertility and Sterility, a publication of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.