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During IVF sexual relationships, satisfaction, can suffer
Date:10/29/2012

alking about the subject or simply because they have so many other important issues to discuss. Still, Smith and Madeira say, the doctor-patient relationship is key, and couples can be told up front about the potential sexual side effects and resources that can help. If they have issues with dryness, for example, they could be counseled on remedies such as purchasing lubricant or other sexual enhancement products. In addition to referring couples to mental health counselors, reproductive endocrinologists could also refer them to sex therapists.

"There's just a dearth of knowledge on how infertility affects sexual behavior," Madeira said. "The focus is more likely to be on the social and support dimensions of the relationship, but sex is a big part of that. Just letting patients know they aren't alone in this would be helpful."

If more information about sexual challenges becomes available, couples might find it on their own.

"Women interested in ART are generally well-educated and tend to spend time researching these issues," Madeira said. "They would be very responsive to this information, and proactive."

The study involved 270 women who completed an online questionnaire; interviews with 127 men and women using IVF to try to conceive; and interviews with 70 professionals, including physicians, nurses, mental health experts and other providers who work directly with patients.

IVF is a procedure in which mature eggs are retrieved from a woman's ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab, forming embryos. The embryo(s) are then implanted in the woman's uterus. It is considered an effective procedure but one that is used after couples try several other less invasive procedures. By the time couples begin IVF, they might have been trying to conceive for many years. Nine percent of the women in their study had been through five IVF cycles, which could take at least a year.

Here are some of their other findings:


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Contact: Jody Lyne Madeira
jmadeira@indiana.edu
812-856-1082
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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