At a conference last week at Oxford University in England, Shaare Zedek’s IVF Unit team – Mrs. Zvia Maimoni, Head Nurse, and Mrs. Giselle Gordon, Senior Yoga and Meditation Teacher – were invited to present their findings about yoga and fertility treatments.
Within the framework of an international project called “The Patient,” the aim of which is to discuss medical topics from the patient’s perspective, treatment providers and academics meet annually at Oxford University to formulate a uniform set of ethics regarding the patient experience. This year, projects were presented on a variety of topics by treatment teams from medical centers all over the world – Canada, Brazil, Portugal, New Zealand, Sweden and the US.
The work done at Shaare Zedek, within a series of yoga workshops for Fertility and IVF Unit patients, recorded a high level of success in reducing stress among participants.
“After the treatments, many patients often feel uncomfortable and low on self-confidence,” says Mrs. Maimoni. ”Following Prof. Holzer’s study, it was decided to offer the patients in the Unit the chance to take part in the yoga workshop.”
Past research by Prof. Hananel Holzer, Director of the Fertility and IVF Unit at Shaare Zedek, when he was directing a fertility institute in Montreal, Canada, initially showed that yoga was one of the ways likely to have an easing effect on IVF patients. The study discovered that a 6-week yoga class reduced fears and anxieties and improved general feeling and quality of life.
“The mental strength of a couple undergoing fertility treatment is very important to us, and we try to help them all we can. It’s a long and often prolonged journey,” explains Prof. Holzer, adding, “Following the workshop, patients report a significant improvement in their quality of life and their ability to return to routine.”
In light of the huge demand, it has been decided to extend the workshops by another six weeks, with the goal of helping patients apply the exercises during and after treatment. The IVF Institute at Shaare Zedek is one of the largest in the country in the Public Medicine sphere and offers advanced treatments including pre-implantation diagnosis and innovative fetal genetic tests.