Women whose IVF treatment is not going well might be more likely to become pregnant at the end of the course if they were spared the results of any tests undertaken during therapy. A separate study has found couples trying to have a baby might be more likely to succeed if women enjoy sex rather than seeing it as an experience that has to be endured as a means to an end.
Scientists at Cardiff University's school of psychology said they found more sperm in the cervix of women who say they have good sex than in those who say they failed to achieve orgasm. Jacky Boivin, a psychologist from the university, said high numbers of sperm drawn into the cervix may be a factor that can significantly increase chances of conception in women who are not very fertile.
"In such couples, love- making frequently occurs under stressful conditions, as it is determined by the fertile period rather than sexual desire," she said.
"Previous research demonstrated that generations of mothers have never experienced orgasm, which appears to prove that sexual pleasure is not related to the ability to conceive.
"However, this conclusion does not preclude the possibility that in some groups small effects may take on much greater significance," Dr Boivin said.
A group of 71 women, with an average age of 30, took part in the study, which involved asking them questions about their sexual enjoyment a few hours after intercourse.
This was done when they attended a clinic to have a post-coital test for the quality and quantity of sperm reaching the cervix.
"The findings suggest that the quality of women's sexual response may facilitate the migration of sperm from the vaginal pool to the cervical and uterine environment," Dr Boivin reported to the British Association.
Another study of 107 Cardiff women who had tried for at least seven years to have babies and were undergoing IVF found that any bad news relayed to them by medical staff when tests were done after 30 days led to a greater risk of treatment failure.
Many doctors assume it is best to relay any negative results to patients during the course of IVF treatment, because it prepares them to accept that they may not become pregnant, but the Cardiff researchers found this did not make things any easier for the women if they remained childless.Reuse content