This review evaluates the impact of complementary therapies on psychosocial factors in women undergoing IVF.
According to the CDC, nearly 7% of married women in the United States face infertility. Approximately 1.5% of all infants born in the U.S. annually are conceived through assisted reproductive technologies (ART), such as IVF. Women undergoing ART report distress, anxiety, and depression related to their treatment. Stress has been cited as the top reason why women terminate treatment. Complementary therapies, such as mind-body techniques, have been associated with decreasing stress and anxiety.
CINAHL and PubMED databases were searched for studies 1) published from January 2010 to 2017, 2) written in English, 3) that examined the effect of an complementary therapy on the psychological well-being of women undergoing, or about to be undergoing a cycle of IVF.
The search revealed 11 studies published between 2010 and 2015 from a variety of countries. The most common research design was a randomized controlled trial (n=7). The psychosocial factor most frequently measured was anxiety (n=8). The forms of complementary therapy varied, with the most common being Hatha yoga, cognitive behavioral interventions, and mind-body therapies (n=2 each).
Utilizing complementary therapies appears to be a positive way to decrease women's anxiety, depression, distress, and stress, and to increase fertility quality of life. This review informs providers that incorporating complementary therapies into the plan of care can lead to improved psychosocial health outcomes for women undergoing IVF.