By Randi Hutter Epstein, MD
Dr. Sarah L. Berga has devoted her career to one of the most hotly debated subjects in the fertility business: getting pregnant without costly drugs. She is one of a handful of physician-scientists exploring how chronic stress may keep some women from ovulating and how relaxation techniques may help.
More precisely, these researchers are examining how chronic stress alters brain signals to the hypothalamus, the walnut-size organ that serves as the master of ceremonies overseeing the delicately timed hormonal dance. Or as Dr. Berga puts it, she explores “how the hypothalamus talks to the pituitary that in turns talks to the ovary.”
This sort of makes sense. Some ladies get stressed out and ovulate like crazy. Some women get stressed out and never get lady time. Disrupted menses cannot be good for getting pregnant. But it’s not all on the women. Trying to make a baby can be stressful for dudes too. With all the temperature taking and cycle monitoring, followed by frantic phone calls like “there’s an emergency at the house, come home now” followed by romance-free, workman-like intercourse. Sure sex is fun, but there’s something about procreational boning that’s sort of off-putting. “Are you just using me for my sperm? Why won’t you kiss me?” And forget about the woman getting on top, everyone knows it’s impossible for her to get pregnant that way. It’s simple gravity, stupid. So now these poor fathers-to-be are stuck doing a yeoman’s job of the old in-out and it’s somehow their fault if they just want to cuddle one night. Not everyone’s 18 any more. Sometimes the boys need a little time off to recuperate. This ended up going in a weird direction. Sorry gang.