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Mind / Body

Our world is more and more stressful.  Increasing population, two family member working households, recession, increasing taxes, inflation, longer hours, etc, are all to blame.  Studies in animals show that animals who share close living quarters are more stressed and don’t reproduce well.  In addition, the nutritional exposure in the U.S. has changed significantly over the past 25 years in a direction that is stressing the female reproductive system and producing significant increases in chronic disease.  Our society has pushed us in directions that are diminishing fertility on a broad scale.  Advanced Reproductive Specialists has been working to define these issues for our patients.  We offer a comprehensive mind / body approach to help patients address these issues in a low tech and non-medical way:

  • Comprehensive Nutritional Counseling
  • Stress Reduction Techniques – Group or Individual training

Since instituting these techniques, we have seen a dramatic rise in our overall pregnancy rates.  For patients solely with ovulation disorders, our pregnancy rates have doubled.  Without attention to these issues, our non-IVF (in-vitro fertilization) pregnancy rates overall were 40-50% and now we have over 90% success and rarely need IVF for anovulatory patients.  This has made a dramatic change in our IVF population and has changed our IVF group to one made up of more difficult infertility problems with lower pregnancy rates overall.  This is why we are so excited about our IVF pregnancy rates which are above the national average, even with a tougher patient population.

Patients feel less stressed and more in control of their situation.  In today’s world of fertility care, there is a great deal of medical information and treatment to be covered in visits.  We have always focused on adding the support aspects into our approach.  These aspects, though, represent half of the needed attention for patients.  As always, our goal is to provide you, our patients, with the highest quality fertility care, while supporting you through what is a most difficult time.

It is interesting that studies that have looked at stress and fertility treatment have universally come to the conclusion that it is not a big factor.  The age old story is a couple who tries for many years to achieve pregnancy and finally decides to adopt and only then achieves pregnancy.  Studies that have looked at this individual situation also find no correlation.  However, all of us in reproductive medicine can remember countless examples of this phenomenon.  Other examples include vacation pregnancies.  Dr. Sarah Berger, Chairman of Emory University OB/GYN Department, is a research leader in stress therapy and pregnancy.  Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a technique to help patients understand the origins of stressful behavior teaching ways to defuse this negative effect on reproduction.  Nature, in an attempt to preserve the species, does not want a “stressed” woman to become pregnant, another stress that might result in death.  This would not be species preserving.  Therefore, the body (brain) reduces signals to the ovary and produces an ovulation defect.  This can be subtle and there are likely many other effects that are not measurable.  Attention to this problem will allow for better egg development no matter what the treatment regimen utilized (even IVF).  We may ask you to do things that don’t sound very healthy but are designed to reduce physiologic stress.  These include cessation of exercise, increasing calorie intake and more frequent calorie intake.

Joining an infertility support group, prayer, meditation, yoga, acupuncture and walking in nature are great stress reducers. Make sure that you are getting plenty of sleep and not ingesting too much caffeine.  Developing a new hobby can be helpful as well.