The emotional impact of infertility has been shown to be more distressing than a potentially life-threatening illness. Unfortunately, the psychological distress associated with the struggle to become pregnant can permeate every aspect of a woman’s life, effecting her marriage, career, friendships and family dynamic.
For over twenty years, researchers have been exploring the Mind/Body connection in relation to infertility. In 1987, Harvard researcher, Alice Domar, PhD began exploring the impact of psychological distress on fertility. She designed a Mind/Body program to teach women strategies to reduce anxiety, depression, and distress through relaxation, mindfulness, cognitive restructuring, and yoga. Since that time, research has continued to demonstrate higher pregnancy rates and enhanced well-being in women who participated in a mind/body program that supplemented their medical treatments for infertility. Most recent research has demonstrated an apparent relationship between participation in a Mind/Body program and increased pregnancy rates for the second IVF cycle.
Participation in a Mind/Body group for infertility can serve many functions. Women can learn new ways to cope with and reduce the stress associated with infertility. They may also learn interpersonal strategies to protect or improve relationships which are so often impacted by infertility. Additionally, the group offers a supportive environment to connect with other women and couples who truly understand the struggle to become pregnant.
Read this Time article about the improved pregnancy rates for women who participate in the Mind Body group.
Selected books by Alice Domar, PhD
CONQUERING INFERTILITYA Mind/Body guide to enhancing fertility and coping with infertility. By Alice D Domar and Alice Lesch Kelly. Published by Viking (2001)
SIX STEPS TO INCREASED FERTILITY An integrated Medical and Mind/Body Program to promote conception. A Harvard Medical School Book. By Robert L. Barbieri M.D, Alice D. Domar and Kevin R Loughlin, M.D. Published by Simon & Schuster (2000)
HEALING MIND, HEALTHY WOMEN Using the Mind Body Connection to manage stress and take control of your life. By Alice D Domar PhD and Henry Dreher. Published by Delta trade Paperbacks (1996)