Can there be a “placbo effect” in fertility treatments?

According to an article in the January 3, 2012 Wall Street Journal, the answer is yes.

Fertility rates have been found to improve in women getting a placebo, perhaps because they experience a decrease in stress. A recent randomized trial of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome found that 15%, or 5 of 33, got pregnant while taking placebo over a six-month period, compared with 22%, or 7 of 32, who got the drug—a statistically insignificant difference. Other studies have demonstrated pregnancy rates as high as 40% in placebo groups.

This is consistent with and may partially explain previous findings of a benefit from Mind-Body programs and acupuncture in patients going through IVF.

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