Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New research shows no link between stress and chances of IVF success

25.08.2005


New research from Sweden has shown that psychological stress does not appear to influence the outcome of IVF – good news for women who fear that the understandable anxiety that they suffer during fertility treatment might damage their chances of conceiving.



"This means that we can use these findings to reassure women and this information should, in itself, help to reduce their stress and worry levels," said lead author Dr Lisbeth Anderheim whose team’s research is reported today (Thursday 25 August) in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction[1].

Past research on the effect of psychological stress on IVF success has been conflicting, with some studies finding an association and others not. But, support for a causal link between stress and IVF results was often weak, according to Dr Anderheim, midwife and PhD student at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Göteborg (Gothenburg).


The new research has the strength of being prospective and therefore does not rely on answers given after the patients found out whether their treatment was successful. A month before treatment 166 women answered extensive questionnaires evaluating their well-being. These covered a wide range of emotions, their general health, their relationship with their partner, their lifestyle and outlook on life and the intensity of their desire for children. A second questionnaire timed just before their eggs were retrieved was answered by 151 of the women. A total of 139 women had embryos available for transfer – 58 conceived and 81 did not.

The results of the pre-treatment questionnaire showed no difference between those who became pregnant and those who didn’t. The questionnaire was a proven method for measuring well-being – the Psychological General Well-Being (PGWB) index. The patients’ scores were in line with Swedish reference values, reflecting the fact that the women were in good psychological health at the start of treatment. There was also no significant difference between the two groups on an additional test designed specifically to assess 14 emotions[2] often expressed by infertility patients.

The analysis of the second questionnaire answered just before egg retrieval again showed no difference between those who conceived and those who didn’t.

"The only variable that was significantly associated with pregnancy was the number of good quality embryos transferred,’ said Dr Anderheim.

Dr Anderheim said the good psychological well-being of the patients prior to treatment was somewhat unexpected and did not correspond with earlier clinical impressions. So, it was possible that the patients were keeping their worries to themselves because they had great expectations and were giving answers that were more positive than they felt. Neither could the researchers totally rule out that the lack of a link between stress and outcome might have been due to lack of sensitivity in the methods used, although the PGWB method was proven to be valid and reliable and the other questionnaire used had been devised specially for the study to pick up aspects of stress identified among infertility patients.

She said the timing of the first questionnaire was chosen because they wanted to study the women’s psychological status before treatment. The timing of the second just prior to egg retrieval was chosen because patients often express anxiety and stress at that point. It may, she conceded, have been valuable also to have questioned patients at the point the embryos were transferred, which is known to be a time of heightened tension.

However, the fact that it was impossible to establish a link in a prospective study between stress and the chances of conceiving via IVF was encouraging.

"During IVF treatment patients frequently ask about the relationship between psychological stress and outcome and often express worries that their own stress might have a negative influence, so the fact that our prospective study did not indicate any relationship is reassuring. This is a positive message we can give our patients to help decrease their stress at this time." Dr Anderheim concluded.

[1] Does psychological stress affect the outcome of in vitro fertilization? Human Reproduction. doi: 10.1094/humrep/dei219.

[2] The 14 responses to infertility tested were: guilt, success, anger, contentment, frustration, happiness, isolation, confidence, anxiety, satisfaction, depression, powerlessness, competence, control.

Margaret Willson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.eshre.com
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/eshre/press-release/aug.05.pdf
http://www.oxfordjournals.org/eshre

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>