No, big feelings don’t threaten infertility treatment

A side effect of infertility treatment is often advice to "just relax" to get pregnant. New research indicates that's not just frustrating, but also wrong.

A woman’s emotional state does not have a strong connection with the success of infertility treatment, according to new evidence.

“Our results offer hope and optimism to the many women who feel emotionally responsible…”

This runs counter to the advice many women struggling with infertility report receiving from family and friends: to “just relax.” This can suggest their mental state is to blame when things don’t work out.

Coauthors Marci Lobel, professor of psychology, Jennifer Nicoloro-SantaBarbara, and colleagues at Stony Brook University report the study results in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

The researchers analyzed more than 20 published studies involving more than 4,000 women to investigate whether women’s emotional distress impedes the success of infertility treatments.

The results of the analysis indicate that women’s distress, including anxiety and depressive symptoms, is not associated with poor treatment outcomes. These findings held true for women regardless of their age, how long they were infertile, and whether or not they had received treatment for infertility previously.

“Our results offer hope and optimism to the many women who feel emotionally responsible or blame themselves for poor outcomes of infertility treatment,” says Lobel.

Source: Stony Brook University

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