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Everyday Habits of 12,800 IVF Patients

A.D. Domar, L.A. Conboy

August 5, 2017
Emma Holt

Looking at the effects of region and insurance coverage on patients

It’s no secret that IVF really takes a toll on couples mentally, physically, and certainly financially. Stress undeniably doesn’t help a woman to conceive, let alone throwing in bad lifestyle habits. The habits we’re going to be looking at in this study include alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, caffeine, recreational drug use, and exercising. Domar and Conboy were curious as to how these negative lifestyle habits may play a role in IVF. They also wished to determine if habits are related to a particular region in the U.S. and/or their insurance coverage. 

Materials & Methods

The number of women who participated

This prospective study analyzed a total of 12,811 women. Each underwent an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycle at various clinics in the United States that use eIVF as their electronic health record system. The women were asked to complete questions about lifestyle habits prior to and during their cycle of IVF.

‍Results & Conclusion

Does region and insurance coverage really matter? 

The following data was collected based on what the women reported during their cycle: 17-23% drank alcohol, 2-7% smoked cigarettes, 62-68% drank caffeine, less than 1% did recreational drugs, and 47-62% exercised. While there were statistically significant regional differences in health habits, there were absolutely no differences in health habits between women who resided in a state with insurance coverage versus those without insurance coverage. At the beginning of this survey, the researchers hypothesized that women with insurance coverage would have worse health habits than those who did not have coverage. Interestingly enough, this was not supported, but they were correct in their hypothesis that there would be significant regional differences in health habits.

When this survey was published in October 2013, it was the first prospective assessment of lifestyle habits across regions in the U.S. and by insurance coverage. It’s unclear why women undergoing IVF engage in behaviors that may negatively impact their cycle although one thing is for sure - there is no doubt that stress plays a large factor. That being said, there are other ways of coping and you should consult your doctor for suggestions of positive lifestyle habits that’ll positively impact your journey through IVF.  


Fertility and Sterility, September 2013 , Volume 100, Issue 3, Supplement, Page S470


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