Today In Unsurprising News, IVF Can Make Sex Less Sexy

The invasive nature-not to mention the emotional pressure-of in-vitro fertilization on a couple's relationship can cause some strain in the bedroom, says Health Day via U.S. News and World Report. An Indiana University study examined the questionnaires of 270 women, 127 couples using IVF and 70 doctors, nurses and mental health specialists. The women undergoing IVF reported lower rates of "sexual interest, desire, orgasm, satisfaction, sexual activity and overall sexual function" with their partner, as well as specific sexual problems (e.g. pain and dryness), which held true regardless of which partner was having the fertility problems. 70% of the couples undergoing in-vitro reported that it had negatively impacted their sex lives, a rate that increased exponentially with the number of IVF cycles they went through. Makes sense, right?

Today In Unsurprising News, IVF Can Make Sex Less Sexy

Researchers admit that the repercussions of IVF's hormonal treatments on women's sexual satisfaction haven't been studied in depth, but one counselor who's written an article on the subject for the National Infertility Association suggests that it's not just the regimented and unromantic nature of intercourse on IVF that's turning women off, but something more serious: trauma by association. "Intercourse doesn't feel nice when it's associated with the transvaginal ultrasound you had earlier in the day… There's a helplessness that so many of these women are experiencing, and depression and shame. With that comes a lot of negative feelings about our bodies. It's really pretty traumatic to a woman's sexuality."

But there are ways to fix it, according to the director of the marriage and sex therapy program at the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Dr. Ann Hartlage. While she admits she most often sees couples after the fact, not during, Hartlage suggests talk therapy, as well as encouraging the couple to perform other sex acts besides intercourse (which could very well feel like a chore by then).

-Anna Breslaw

‘IVF And Sex: How The Treatment Hurts Couples' Sex Lives' [HuffPo]
‘Couples' Sexual Relationships Can Suffer During IVF, Study Finds'
[U.S. News & World Report]

Photo via Science3point0.com/Flickr