Womens Health

Can Mind-Body Programs Help IVF to Succeed?

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By Theresa M. Erickson

Mind Body Programs and IVF - Interesting study for those undergoing fertility treatments and trying to conceive.

A study published in Fertility and Sterility found that women going through IVF who participate in mind-body programs to control their stress levels, such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga and body scan relaxation, have significantly higher pregnancy rates. The pregnancy rate for those who participate in mind-body programs is 52% versus 20% for those who do not.

“‘It’s a strong indication that learning stress management tools before and during an IVF cycle can have a significant positive impact on pregnancy rates,’ says Alice Domar, principal investigator and director of mind/body services at Boston IVF, which is affiliated with Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. ‘With IVF, physicians feel their medicines control every aspect of an IVF cycle and there is no room for stress. My observation is yes, there is.’”

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For this study, “Domar zeroed in on IVF patients this time, recruiting 143 women at Boston IVF who had just been told they needed IVF after most had gone through at least three cycles of less intensive infertility treatment. Half were placed in a mind-body group, half in a control group. In their first IVF cycle, during which only 9% had attended at least half the 10 mind-body sessions, there was no difference in pregnancy rates: it was 43% for both groups. In the second cycle, in which 76% had completed at least half the program, the mind-body group had a 52% success rate compared to 20% for the control group.”

IVF centers in Chicago, California, Florida, and Boston offer very popular mind-body programs, but if your IVF center does not have a mind-body program they should be able to refer you to an outside mind-body practitioner.