Fertility Medications and the Efficacy of Placebo
Fertility Medications and Placebo Effect
Sometime last week I wrote about my chance meeting with Dr. Katherine Scott, RMACT’s IVF Lab Manager. Our conversation sparked some ideas that have been percolating ever since.
How much does it matter how a message is delivered? This is a question that is fairly rhetorical as we know it makes a difference. We know it makes a big difference, that’s why such mind-boggling amounts of money are spent on advertising and marketing research. We know that what we call something and how we describe that same thing affects how we think about it; how we take it in.
Last night I spent some time with our PA, Diana D’Amelio. We were discussing the efficacy of medications and supplements and the effect of the placebo. I love being surrounded by such smart people who think about matters in such deep ways. Speaking with her sparked some new thoughts.
Infertility is a science. And it’s an art. And there is so much that every one of us can do about our own health, treatment and general well being. The placebo effect gives us a lot of power. Thinking something will work, will be powerful, helps make it that way. In essence, that’s what the placebo effect means.
Taking a pill or tablet that has no medication in it can often give the same physiological reaction as taking a pill or tablet that has specific medication in it. This has always been true. This is how double blind studies create research that we rely on. And it is frequent that the placebo is very effective in treating whatever ails you.
I am not suggesting that you all stop taking your medication because you can just believe your way into becoming pregnant. Fertility medications are powerful and using them will often bring a response of more eggs/follicles that we are looking for, especially when undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization). This blog is not about knocking fertility medications.
What I am suggesting is that believing they will work is a great idea. What I am suggesting is that believing that eating in a healthy way increases the healthiness. What I am suggesting is that believing that sleeping properly makes our sleep more restorative and healthy.
When you’ve had disappointments, it’s challenging to put your heart into it. It’s a natural reaction to guard against more disappointments by keeping an awareness of failure. We all get that. And sometimes the best that you can do is take the medications and keep your heart protected. If that’s where you are, please know that suspending judgment around yourself is more important than anything else.
Mantras for Health
If you feel you can add a little something to your already rigorous fertility treatment regime, I have a suggestion. Once or twice a day, (or every hour if you are ambitious), create a mantra for yourself and repeat it three or four times. It can be simple and easy or very specific and personal. Your own mantras for health. Here are a few suggestions.
- My fertility treatment will be successful
- I am creating health for myself
- I am healthy
- Everything is exactly as it should be
- I am bringing my baby closer
- Peace (shanty)
- I am doing whatever I need to do to create my family
- I am one with the universe
None of these may float your boat at all. Again, no judgment. You may have a prayer or a poem that will work for you.
Try it for a week if you can. It’s painless, calorie free, alcohol free, caffeine free. In fact, it’s free, costs nothing. When you say your mantra, close your eyes bring your thoughts deep into your cells and organs. Create health and well being.
My mantra for this week: everything is as it should be, in this moment.
I would love to hear your mantra.
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About Lisa Rosenthal
Lisa has over thirty years of experience in the fertility field. After her personal infertility journey, she felt dissatisfied with the lack of comprehensive services available to support her. She was determined to help others undergoing fertility treatment. Lisa has been with RMACT for eleven years and serves as Patient Advocate and the Strategic Content Lead.
Lisa is the teacher and founder of Fertile Yoga, a program designed to support men and women on their quest for their families through gentle movement and meditation.
Lisa’s true passion is supporting patients getting into treatment, being able to stay in treatment and staying whole and complete throughout the process. Lisa is also a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist, which is helpful in her work with fertility patients.
Her experience also includes working with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association and The American Fertility Association (now Path2Parenthood), where she was Educational Coordinator, Conference Director and Assistant Executive Director.