Stress increases female infertility risk

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Females who showed a high stress level hormone in their saliva were at much higher risk of not becoming pregnant within one year of trying to do so.

Scientists have found that stress increases the infertility risk in females. They have recommended stress relief mechanisms, such as meditation and yoga, for those hoping to have a baby.

Women are diagnosed with infertility if they fail to become pregnant after one year of trying, despite having regular unprotected sex. This may contribute to the fact that women often conceive once they have stopped trying desperately to conceive. The worry about conception is removed.

The leader of the study from Ohio State University in the United States, Dr Courtney Denning-Johnson Lynch, has stated that they have clearly shown that females who have high levels of stress have a lower chance of conception than those females with lower levels of the stress biomarker. However, Dr Lynch has pointed out that infertility is not only linked to stress and it may only be a small reason for the problem.

The co-author of the study, Dr Germaine Buck Louis, based at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Rockville in the U.S. has stated that the elimination of certain stressors prior to trying to conceive may shorten the time that couples take to become pregnant. She stated that a single recommendation will not be suitable for all females. Women trying to conceive will be fully aware of the stress reduction method that will best suit their situation.

This is not the first time that a link has been made between stress and infertility. Scientists monitored 373 American females between the ages of 18 and 40 who had no known reasons for infertility and had started the process of trying to conceive. They were monitored for a period of one year, or until they conceived. An enzyme in their saliva was tested for alpha-amylase which is an indicator of stress levels.

It was found that females who indicated a high biomarker level were at least 29% less likely to conceive than those women with lower levels. The females with higher biomarker levels were also at much higher risk of being diagnosed with infertility.

Image credit: Danny Cain

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