Monday, September 23, 2013

Victim blaming, stress and IVF failure

While infertility and IVF abound with misconceptions and old wife’s tales,  the number of myths about stress and IVF far outnumber those in any other area of reproductive medicine. For every failed IVF cycle, people have made the patient’s stress an easy target to blame. This is why  mind-body courses that teach patients to manage stress are becoming so popular.

Patients naively expect to get pregnant when the IVF cycle goes smoothly and the doctor transfers good quality embryos into a perfect uterine lining . During the transfer procedure, doctors are also usually upbeat and optimistic , so they can cheer up the patient. When the IVF cycle fails, this comes as a rude shock. The patient’s relatives often heartlessly blame the patient for the failure, claiming that it was because the patient was too stressed out, that her body did not accept the embryos.  This is why so many family members force the patient to sleep in bed during the 2 ww. They believe that this causes the patient to relax , and will improve the chances of success.

Unfortunately, a lot of patients believe in this flawed, reasoning because it’s not possible to prove that it is wrong. Also the failure of the procedure has a negative impact on their self esteem. Hence, these women usually blame themselves because their embryos didn’t implant. I personally feel this is an unkind form of victim blaming. 

The reality is that every IVF patient is stressed – after all, no one enjoys going to an IVF clinic . If stress was to cause an IVF cycle to fail, then there wouldn’t be any IVF success stories at all  ! Embryo implantation is a biological procedure that has nothing to do with stress. After all, rape victims can and do get pregnant, no matter how much stress they are under !

Do you need help in coping with your stress levels during IVF treatment ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better !

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