Your Hair Predict could Your Chance of IVF Success
When it comes to your likelihood of conceiving using IVF, the answers can be found right on top of your head.
That is right. It might sound kind of strange, but according to new research, the levels of a stress hormone known as cortisol found in your hair can predict the odds of pregnancy when undergoing in vitro. In fact, researchers at The University of Nottingham have found that elevated levels of cortisol were associated with almost a 3rd less opportunity of conceiving!
Interesting stuff, especially if you are a female who is currently trying to conceive. But why use hair? Because doctors may measure cumulative hormonal function over a period of 3- 6months using your locks, as opposed to other techniques saliva, blood, or urine, for example, which only measure short-term levels.
For the research, the researchers collected salivary cortisol samples from 1 hundred and 35 women, 60% of them later became pregnant following IVF treatment. Hair samples were also taken from eighty-eight of the ladies. And after analyzing both, the researchers found that when the salivary cortisol measurements weren’t related to the chance of getting pregnant, 27% of the variance in pregnancy outcome could be attributed to the hair cortisol concentrations.
Pretty cool, right? And according to the researchers, these findings provide the 1st concrete evidence that long-term levels of cortisol. which is affected by things like diet, exercise, and, yes, stress—can play a very important role in determining reproductive outcomes.
“There has been an ongoing debate within the scientific community about whether or not stress can influence fertility and pregnancy outcomes,” explained Professor Kavita Vedhara from the University’s School of Medicine, who led the study. “While these results don’t specifically implicate stress they do provide preliminary evidence that long-term cortisol levels are associated with a reduced likelihood of conceiving.”
Which is why Dr. Adam Massey, also from the University’s School of Medicine, acknowledged that when we still don’t fully understand all of the factors which influence whether or not the treatment works, reducing cortisol in the months prior to treatment remains paramount.
“The good news for patients,” he explained, “is that well-known lifestyle changes can help to lower cortisol and therefore optimize the likelihood to get pregnant.”