Women undergoing certain infertility treatments are more likely to become pregnant if they take part in a simultaneous stress reduction program, new research shows.
The finding, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, raises new and controversial questions about the role that stress may play in infertility.
The issue is a delicate one because historically, doctors often laid the blame for a couple’s inability to conceive on psychological and emotional issues in one or both partners.
But research shows that most infertility is the result of physical problems in a man’s or woman’s reproductive system, and psychological factors are rarely the primary cause.
“It’s an extremely sensitive topic for couples,’’ said Alice D. Domar, a psychologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston and director of mind-body services at Boston IVF, a large fertility center. “The most common, unwelcome piece of advice to couples is ‘just relax and you’ll get pregnant.’ ”
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