A prospective study of psychosocial stress and fertility in women

Katherine Sanders, Neville Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Citations (Scopus)


The objective of this study was to compare average stress levels during the month of conception to those of previous infertile months. We postulated that stress level during the actual month of conception would be lower than that during previous non-conception cycles. Thirteen normal women from the general community, who mere attempting pregnancy, kept daily records of coital activity and basal body temperature, and twice a month completed self-administered questionnaires and provided a 12 h overnight urine sample. On average, women reported significantly more favourable mood states on standard psychometric tests, during the month of conception than during the previous non-conception cycles, In addition, they felt significantly less 'hassled' during the month of conception. However, mean urinary hormone excretion of adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol did not significantly differ between conception and non-conception cycles and there was little relationship between the psychological measures of mood state and excretion of adrenaline and cortisol, There was no evidence of increased coital frequency during the month of conception when mood states were improved, suggesting that stress effects on libido were unlikely to account for the findings. The results support the conclusion that psychosocial stress influences fertility in females but as yet mechanisms remain unclear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2324-2329
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'A prospective study of psychosocial stress and fertility in women'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this