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Complementary therapy for infertile women may reduce chances of pregnancy

Complementary therapies in assisted reproduction may diminish the effectiveness of medical treatment for infertility in women, a scientist will tell the 23rd annual conference of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Lyon, France, (Wednesday 4 July). Dr. Jacky Boivin, from the School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Wales, UK, will say that her research had also shown that women who used complementary therapies were more negatively affected by their fertility problems than non-users, and that this could account for the fact that they were willing to use complementary therapies that were not proven to improve fertility.

Many women use complementary or alternative therapies (CATs) to resolve fertility problems, even though there is little evidence that they are effective. However, it is not clear whether people use these to reduce stress or to increase their chances of getting pregnant. So Dr. Boivin and a colleague from the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Lone Schmidt, set out to study why women made these choices, in the hope of being able to better inform them both of their effectiveness and of other options for achieving pregnancy and reducing the stress of infertility.

They examined the psychosocial and medical profiles of 818 Danish women at the start of their IVF treatment, and then looked at which women went on to use complementary therapy in the subsequent 12 months. The study was the first large scale prospective evaluation of CAT use in an infertile population.

We found that women who went on to use complementary therapies for example reflexology and nutritional supplements during their treatments were more distressed and emotionally affected by their fertility problems than non-users, says Dr. Boivin. This difference in stress may mean that women used CATs for stress reduction, and if this were the case it would be important for future research to establish whether CATs achieve this goal mo
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology
4-Jul-2007


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