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Should IVF treatment start with reducing stress?

- 5 min read
written by Shield Connect

Recently Infertility has become a major problem worldwide and the women who are struggling to conceive report feelings of depression, anxiety, and Poor Quality of life

Recently Infertility has become a major problem worldwide and the women who are struggling to conceive report feelings of depression, anxiety, and Poor Quality of life. It is estimated that 1 in 8 couples (or 12% of married women) have trouble in getting pregnant. The inability to reproduce naturally can cause feelings of shame and guilt in many couples. It is very difficult to assess the distress levels in women undergoing infertility treatment. Many studies have reported that infertile individuals have psychiatric symptoms, and their levels of anxiety and depression are significantly higher than in fertile controls.

Stress impedes reproductive function. more distressed the women prior to and during treatment, the lower the pregnancy rates. Patients with one treatment failure have significantly higher levels of anxiety, and patients with two failures experienced more depression when compared with those without a history of treatment. This is mainly because people tend to think ART as last resort and a failure seems to be a bad ending.

Very few women get pregnant easily from ART, conceiving on their first cycle. However, for many it may take years, or not happen at all. Changes to lifestyle, such as exercise, diet, caffeine intake, and sleep may be altered as an attempt to reverse the diagnosis. For some, these changes paired with ART treatment may lead to a pregnancy; for others, there might be a need to take help of third-party reproduction like donor egg/ sperm or Surrogacy Programs.

It is evident that infertility patients experience distress and decreased quality of life. It is important for infertility providers and counsellors to aid these patients by way of psychological interventions and emotional support. The Mind/Body interventions for infertile patients can improve psychological outcomes and marital relationships as well as increase patient retention and improve pregnancy rates. It has been proven a successful way to reduce stress and increase pregnancy rates and provides patients with skills in cognitive behaviour therapy, relaxation training, lifestyle changes, journaling, self-awareness, and social support components.

The 2-week waiting period between embryo transfer and the pregnancy test has been recognized as a very stressful time during IVF treatment. Relaxation techniques have been widely shown to reduce negative emotions in a range of medical patients, more specifically, they have been shown to significantly reduce anxiety scores in women undergoing infertility treatment.

To conclude Couples undergoing fertility treatments experience immense level of stress and anxiety which have a negative impact on their IVF outcomes. Individualizing the Patient based on their history and drug therapy will be more Beneficial. Reducing stress and anxiety can incredibly help IVF patients at all stages which ultimately lead them to have a successful pregnancy.

Picture Credit: stress in pregnancy-navbharat-times

Dr Nisha Bhatnagar Dr Nisha Bhatnagar

MBBS., MD (ObGyn), Medical Director, Aveya Fertility & IVF Centre, New Delhi.


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