Incorporating spirituality in psychosocial group intervention for women undergoing in vitro fertilization: A prospective randomized controlled study


Celia H. Y. Chan, Department of Social Work and Social Administration University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China (e-mail:


Objectives. This study examined the efficacy of a group intervention, the Integrative Body-Mind-Spirit (I-BMS) intervention, which aims at improving the psychosocial and spiritual well-being of Chinese women undergoing their first IVF treatment cycle. Design.  The I-BMS intervention facilitates the search of meaning of life in the context of family and childbearing, as well as the letting go of high IVF expectations. A randomized controlled study of 339 women undergoing first IVF treatment cycle in a local Hong Kong hospital was conducted (intervention: n= 172; no-intervention control: n= 167).

Methods. Assessments of anxiety, perceived importance of childbearing, and spiritual well-being were made at randomization (T0), on the day starting ovarian stimulations (T1), and on the day undertaking embryo transfer (T2).

Results. Comparing T0 and T2, interaction analyses showed women who had received the intervention reported lower levels of physical distress, anxiety, and disorientation. They reported being more tranquil and satisfied with their marriage, and saw childbearing as less important compared to women in the control group.

Conclusions. These findings suggest that I-BMS intervention was successful at improving the psychosocial and spiritual well-being of women undergoing their first IVF treatment cycle. This study highlights the importance of providing integrative fertility treatment that incorporates psychosocial and spiritual dimensions.