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Don't worry, be happy

Dr. Kirsty Horsey

Progress Educational Trust

29 April 2004

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[BioNews, London] A study by researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), has shown that anxiety and stress can lessen the chances of fertility treatments being successful. Hillary Klonoff-Cohen and colleagues found that women who are anxious about the medical aspects of IVF produce 20 per cent fewer eggs than less worried patients, and are 19 per cent less likely to see the eggs successfully fertilised.

The research, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, shows that worries over, for example, work or money, can affect the chances of success in IVF. The researchers found that people with anxiety about taking time off work to have fertility tests or treatments had about 30 per cent fewer eggs fertilised. And those who were worried about how much the treatment would cost, say the researchers, had a 'very high risk' of not having a child at all, even if they managed to conceive.

The researchers looked at 151 women applying to have IVF or a related fertility procedure called GIFT (gamete intra-fallopian transfer). The women were asked to answer questionnaires about their concerns - about anything from pain, surgery, anaesthesia and side effects, to taking time off work and actually having a baby. The questionnaires were based on a literature review of scientific papers that had looked at stress and IVF success rates. The research findings, say the team, remain true when factors such as age, race, smoking, type of infertility, number of existing children, and others were taken into account.

Dr Marian Damewood, president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, said that more should be done to try and alleviate stress and to make the IVF experience easier. 'By the time patients arrive at ART, they've been through months or years of diagnosis, treatment and the emotional pain of infertility', she said. Patients should be given more information, she commented, adding 'creating more scheduling flexibility is a good place to start'.

© Copyright Progress Educational Trust

Reproduced with permission from BioNews, an email and online sources of news, information and comment on assisted reproduction and genetics.

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Date Added: 29 April 2004   Date Updated: 12 September 2004
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