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How women cope
with stress may influence IVF success

How women cope
with stress may influence IVF success

The way women deal with the stress of infertility treatment may affect their chances of becoming pregnant, a new study suggests.

In particular, researchers found, women who tended to focus on and share their feelings were less likely to become pregnant than women who found other ways to cope with their stress--such as finding ways to "distract" themselves from their emotions.

The findings, published in the journal Fertility & Sterility, are based on pregnancy rates among 342 women who underwent in vitro fertilization at a single fertility clinic in Greece.

Overall, about 23% became pregnant, with lower odds of success seen in women who coped with their stress in "emotionally expressive" ways.

The findings suggest that women's coping styles matter more than the stress itself in IVF success, according to the researchers, led by Dr. Efharis Panagopoulou of Aristotle University Thessaloniki.

Future studies, they say, should explore whether women undergoing IVF benefit from finding ways to distract themselves from the stress.

That's not to say, however, that expressing one's feelings is necessarily negative.

Numerous studies, the researchers note, have found that expressing emotions may be a boon for physical and emotional health. But those studies have not looked specifically at pregnancy outcomes after IVF, they add.

More research, the study authors conclude, is needed to figure out when it's beneficial for infertile women to focus on expressing their emotions and when distraction might be a better coping mechanism. (Reuters)

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