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Stress can cause infertility in women

Too much stress can lead to infertility in women, a study has shown for the first time.

High levels of pre-conception stress more than double the chances of a woman failing to get pregnant after 12 months of trying, scientists found.

A year of not conceiving despite regular unprotected intercourse is the clinical definition of infertility.

Previous research had already highlighted an association between high stress levels and a reduced probability of pregnancy.

The new findings, linking stress to infertility, are published in the latest online edition of the journal Human Reproduction.

INDICATOR

Scientists measured levels of alpha-amylase, an enzyme in saliva that provides a biological indicator of stress.

Women with high levels of the biomarker were 29pc less likely to get pregnant each month than those with low levels, researchers found. They were also more than twice as likely to be declared infertile.

Study leader Dr Courtney Denning-Johnson Lynch, from Ohio State University in the US, said: "This is now the second study in which we have demonstrated that women with high levels of the stress biomarker salivary alpha-amylase have a lower probability of becoming pregnant compared with women with low levels of this biomarker.

"For the first time, we've shown that this effect is potentially clinically meaningful, as it's associated with a greater than two-fold increased risk of infertility among these women."

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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