Previous research has suggested an association between stress and infertility, though little research has focused on conceptions delays or pregnancy loss. In collaboration with investigators from the Oxford Conception Study, a prospective follow up of a subgroup of participating women provided saliva samples on day 6 of each cycle while attempting pregnancy for measurement of two biomarkers: cortisol and alpha amylase. Salivary concentrations of stress biomarkers were analyzed in relation to female fecundity as measured by time-to-pregnancy and risk of pregnancy loss. We found evidence that alpha amylase was negatively associated with time-to-pregnancy but not pregnancy loss. No association was observed for salivary cortisol. There are the first findings to empirically support a relation between stress, possibly as mediated via the sympathetic pathway as measured by alpha amylase, and female fecundity.
Germaine Louis, Ph.D., M.S.
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