Hypnosis and fertility
Hypnosis is a mind-body therapy that involves transferring to a mild sleep-like state called ‘a trance’ that is induced by a therapist or a recording of relaxation guidance. It’s about entering a state of heightened attentiveness in a particular area of the brain, during which the brain becomes more flexible and changeable. The therapist helps the patient to change negative thinking patterns by suggesting alternative ideas and changing the connections and associations in the brain. Followers of hypnosis say that repeating these techniques is like training the mind.
Hypnosis does not always require a therapist. Guided imagery can serve as a form of self-hypnosis.
Some preliminary studies have been conducted on the effect of hypnosis on fertility. One study found that hypnosis during embryo retrieval (IVF) leads to an increase in the success of the treatment; however, much more research needs to be done on the subject.
Another way that hypnosis could benefit you is by lowering unhealthy habits, for example, obesity and smoking can cause fertility problems. Research on hypnosis has found that it can help you lose weight or quit smoking. Hypnosis can also help reduce stress and anxiety.
Stress can affect your ability to fall pregnant on several levels, including affecting the part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus helps to regulate hormonal levels, including the FSH and LH hormones, which are related to conception. The hypothalamus controls the pituitary and adrenal responses that produce and regulate the level of stress hormones in the body.
The pituitary gland regulates both how much of the hormone is produced and how much is released in the body. Changes in its response can have a dramatic effect on the delicate cocktail of hormones needed for ovulation, fertilization, functioning of the fallopian tubes, and even for successful egg implantation.
A study conducted on fertility and sterility suggests that because mind/body programs are effective in reducing negative emotions that may impair IVF success, IVF patients should be offered this type of program. Use of stress reduction treatments at an early stage of the process increases the success rates of IVF (in this study, from 20% to 52%).
Another study suggests that the use of hypnosis during embryo transfer can significantly improve IVF outcomes in terms of increased implantation and clinical pregnancy rates. Moreover, it seems that the patients’ approach to the treatment becomes more positive.
According to an Israeli study presented at the European Union Conference on Reproduction and Embryology in Berlin in July 2004, hypnosis can actually double the success of IVF treatments. The study was conducted by Professor Eliahu Levitas and his team at Soroka Medical Center in Be’er Sheva to determine whether hypnosis can improve the success of the embryo transfer phase during IVF.
A study of 185 women found that 28% of women who underwent hypnosis during IVF treatment fell pregnant compared to 14% of women in the control group. Professor Levitas examined the effects of hypnosis on IVF treatment and embryo transfer only as previous studies had shown that the pressure applied in the procedure caused small contractions in the uterus that prevented successful fertilization of the egg. The professor noted that sedatives were used in previous studies, but nothing has been found to work like hypnosis.
According to Prof. Levitas, performing embryo transfer under hypnosis may contribute significantly to the clinical pregnancy rate. He also hopes that this study will encourage further investigation into the use of hypnosis as an adjunct to fertility treatments.
Stress and fertility
The IVF treatment period tends to be a stressful time, and stress can have a blocking effect on the chances of success of the treatments. This is why women often get pregnant just at the point where they stop trying. Experience causes stress and prevents exactly what you would like to achieve. When you want to get pregnant, it’s important to allow the process to simply happen and not force it. Sleep is a natural process of the body, but when you stop trying to fall asleep, you are more likely to actually fall asleep. This is what it’s like with pregnancy.
In fact, hypnosis therapy will do more than just reduce your stress and calm you down. Your subconscious mind can directly influence your physical activity through hypnotic suggestion. This occurs when people are able to heal faster or get rid of blockages after undergoing hypnosis. It is their subconscious that responds to suggestions – and brings beneficial results that include more than just calmness.