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Mind/body program increases pregnancy rates in IVF treatment
Date:5/9/2011

BOSTON There is no doubt that undergoing infertility treatment is stressful, with high rates of anxiety and depression reported by many patients. Mind/body therapies designed to help women reduce stress earlier in the treatment process result in higher pregnancy rates, but little is known specifically about the impact of these therapies on women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF).

A new study published June 1 in Fertility and Sterility, a publication of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, shows that women who participate in a mind/body program for stress reduction while undergoing IVF treatment have a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who do not (52% versus 20%).

"The intersection of stress and fertility is a controversial one, but we do know that stress can reduce the probability of conception," said principal investigator Alice Domar, Ph.D, OB/GYN, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Executive Director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health at Boston IVF.

In 1987, Domar introduced the Mind/Body Program for Infertility at the BIDMC main campus in Boston, later moving it to Boston IVF in Waltham in 2002. The goal of the program is to help couples learn effective relaxation and stress management strategies while attempting to conceive. The ten week stress management program focuses on "cognitive behavior therapy, relaxation training, negative health behavior modification and social support components."

To study the effects of the Mind/Body Program on IVF pregnancy outcomes, Domar's team approached women who were about to begin treatment at Boston IVF and who met the study criteria: 40 years or under with normal hormonal levels. None of the participants had previously participated in a mind/body group.

Participants were randomized into a study group that entered the Mind/Body Program for Infertility or a control group who received no mind/body intervention. All patients underwent
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Contact: Kelly Lawman
klawman@bidmc.harvard.edu
617-667-7305
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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