Stress Seems to Have No Effect on Fertility Treatments

Belief is based more on myth than reality, experts say

FRIDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Stress and tension don't decrease the success of a woman's fertility treatment, a new study suggests.

British researchers analyzed data from 14 studies that included a total of 3,583 women who had undergone fertility treatment and been assessed for anxiety and stress before they began their therapy.

Their comparison of women who became pregnant and those who did not found no association between emotional distress and the likelihood of becoming pregnant.

"These findings should reassure women that emotional distress caused by fertility problems or other life events co-occurring with treatment will not compromise their chance of becoming pregnant," Jacky Boivin, a professor in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University in Wales, said in a news release from BMJ. The journal published the findings online Feb. 24.

Health experts say that about 15 percent of couples are infertile. Many women believe that emotional distress can reduce their chances of becoming pregnant naturally or having success with fertility treatments, but the researchers say that's a mistaken idea based on anecdotal evidence and myths.

More information

The U.S. National Women's Health Information Center has more about infertility.

Robert Preidt BMJ, news release, Feb. 24, 2011

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