Friday, 18 May 2012
Hypnosis and Fertility: Can Hypnotherapy Aid Conception?
Conception is defined as the union of a male sperm and a female ovum resulting in a zygote. Prior to the first pregnancy which resulted from in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in 1973 it was believed that human fertilisation must occur within the woman’s body. Although this pregnancy only lasted a few days, it wasn’t long before further experimentation resulted in the successful birth of Louise Brown in 1978.
Louise Brown has gone down in history as the first ever ‘test tube’ baby, signifying the beginning of reproductive endocrinology. Since her birth extensive research and further discoveries have meant that couples with fertility problems now have a variety of medical options available to them. Many couples, who may never have been able to have a baby, are now parents because of assisted reproductive technology (ART). And yet there are many others, who after countless attempts at a variety of interventions remain childless.
Unfortunately ART only offers people another option and isn’t necessarily the solution to fertility problems. When it comes to having a baby, there are no guarantees. With all the advancements in science, embryologists still can’t say who will and who won’t go home with a baby. The creation of life is wonderfully intriguing and mysterious, and I suspect the answers can’t be found under a microscope.
It isn’t hard to see how difficult having fertility problems can be. And with an ever increasing number of people choosing to try IVF, it seems that this struggle may have become compounded. IVF is a very time consuming, intense and demanding procedure. People put a lot of financial and emotional investment into it, and some believe that there happiness depends upon the successful outcome.
Irrespective of the outcome, going through a cycle of IVF is likely to have a negative effect physically, emotionally and psychologically. The impact of which is magnified by treatment failure. The demanding nature of the procedure can also affect people’s work and social life. The high financial cost of IVF is well known and with some couples choosing to do 3 or more cycles the financial burden can become heavy. It is also quite understandable that relationships may suffer sexually and emotionally under these kinds of stressful circumstances. Simply put, IVF can affect every aspect of life, and in the case of an unsuccessful outcome, people may be left feeling devastated, disappointed, exhausted, stressed and without hope.
In the time that I have worked with people undergoing IVF, I have heard repeatedly that hypnosis has made such a positive difference to their experience that they can’t believe anyone would go through IVF without it. Whilst some fertility units offer counselling to their patients, I think that the inclusion of hypnosis offers so much more than talking therapy alone.
Firstly, clients can be taught how to achieve a deep state of relaxation using hypnosis which will help to significantly reduce levels of stress. Secondly, hypnotherapy can be used to equip them with tools and inner resources which will help them to cope better and handle an unsuccessful outcome more easily. Thirdly, hypnosis can be used to help prepare mentally, emotionally and physically for IVF. This preparation can range from positive lifestyle changes, changing limiting beliefs to eliminating a needle phobia. And lastly, hypnosis can help to increase the chances of a successful outcome.
According to a study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Berlin in July of 2004: hypnosis can effectively double the success of IVF treatments. The study was conducted by Professor Eliahu Levitas and his team at Soroka Hospital in Israel to determine if hypnosis could improve the success of the embryo transfers stage of IVF.
The study of 185 woman found that 28% of the women who were hypnotized for the IVF treatment became pregnant, compared to 14% of the women in the control group. Professor Levitas studied the effects of hypnosis for the IVF treatment and embryo transfer only, because prior studies that demonstrated the stress of the procedure created small contractions of the uterus that prevented the successful implantation of the fertilized egg. The professor indicated that tranquilizers had been used in prior studies, but nothing worked as well as hypnosis. "Performing embryo transfer under hypnosis may significantly contribute to an increased clinical pregnancy rate," Professor Levitas told the conference in Berlin.
By Sjanie Hugo
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