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Worry can affect IVF success

October 12, 2009 | 10:24 am

Nursery
A long-standing belief that women are more likely to become pregnant when they quit worrying about becoming pregnant appears to be somewhat true for infertility patients. A study in the October issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility found that women who "let go" of their worries about becoming pregnant during in vitro fertilization treatment were more likely to become pregnant

The study examined 88 women as they went through IVF treatment. The women's emotional coping strategies were measured. For example, researchers tried to determine how much the women thought about or worried about the outcome of their treatments and how much they felt they needed to persevere. "Letting go" was defined as being emotionally disengaged from the process and distracting oneself from the treatment.

Of the 88 women, 21 became pregnant. But those who had the highest scores reflecting a "letting go" attitude were 88% more likely to become pregnant compared with women who tended to worry and ruminate about the treatment.

"Some studies point out that . . . denial, humor, letting go can be beneficial in the event of uncontrollable stressors," the authors wrote. "When control is not possible, focusing on and regulating one's associated emotions may be more effective."

How does not worrying help? Researchers speculate that prolonged emotional stress impacts many bodily functions, including cardiovascular, endocrine, immunological and neuro-visceral systems.

-- Shari Roan

Photo credit: Wendy Wahman  /  For The Times

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