Does stress really affect IVF outcomes?

12th May 2011 in IVF

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There have been many studies on whether stress levels really affect the outcome of IVF. Some say there is no link – others say there is.

Now the latest study from America shows that women going through IVF who enrolled on a stress-management course achieved a higher pregnancy rate than those who didn’t.

But the fact is that IVF and infertility in itself is stressful. First, you have to cope with and come to terms with the fact that you need help to conceive. Then you’ve got to get through the various IVF procedures – from the initial medical appointments and scans to fertilisation of any eggs and implantation – before you can even find out if it’s worked.

IVF is long journey and patients don’t say it’s an emotional rollercoaster for no reason. It’s why we have such a dedicated team of counsellors, who prepare our patients for this journey, guiding and supporting them every step of the way.

As one medical commentator said of this latest US research, it’s impossible to say whether stress caused the infertility or infertility caused the stress.

And how many times have we all heard anecdotal tales of chronically stressed-out women who had been trying to get pregnant naturally for months without success, only for them to fall pregnant on holiday, when they were undoubtedly more relaxed.

This obviously has no bearing in cases of infertility caused by medical conditions, but in cases of unexplained infertility maybe relaxing could be worth a try. After all, it’s something we all want to do more of and making sure you are at your best – both physically and emotionally – is a good way to start.

Last updated: 20th January 2020