Helping clients to get back in charge of their lives, with the confidence, calmness & self-sufficiency to flourish.

Helping fertility problems with hypnosis:



Infertility is usually defined as an inability to conceive after one year of regular unprotected sexual intercourse, often this means that conception is difficult or unlikely, rather than impossible. A wide variety of issues might contribute to fertility problems, in both male and female partners, including physiological conditions, environmental factors, lifestyle choices, medication and stress. Naturally enough, it can be caused by multiple issues that are combining to make conception difficult, and as time passes these may be compounded by fertility-related stress, relationship problems, and other psychological difficulties.

Infertility is becoming increasingly common in many countries, in the UK it is the most common reason for a woman aged 20-45 to see their GP, after pregnancy itself. It is estimated to affect around one in seven UK couples at some point, although the majority of these couples will eventually conceive naturally, a significant minority will not. There is no single reason why infertility is becoming more common, but it is probably due to a number of factors, which include; delaying starting a family, weight, stress and anxiety, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle factors.

Experiencing difficulty in conceiving can lead to a wide range of emotions, often felt in a complex and turbulent pattern. These emotions, and their resulting thought patterns may include anger, sadness, hostility, isolation, jealousy, shock, confusion, denial, loss, grief, and intense yearning. This emotional roller-coaster can lead to low self-esteem, self-blame (or blaming a partner), insomnia and depression, all of which are likely to make things worse: In one study of women with depression it was found that those treated showed a 60% viable pregnancy rate within six months, contrasting with 24% when depression went untreated [1].



Hypnotherapy and infertility:



The significance of the mind-body connection is becoming increasingly recognised in healthcare, as the mind has tremendous influence upon the body, with thoughts, beliefs and emotions altering the balance of the body's hormonal system, which in turn governs the operation of the body's reproductive system.

There are many levels on which hypnotherapy may help individuals with fertility problems (men or women), not just in terms of conceiving, but also in terms of regaining control, reducing stress and returning to some sense of normality; a sense of having a life outside infertility. It can help in dealing with, and expressing, the wide range of emotions being felt, and in transforming negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs. Reducing stress can also help when making difficult decisions, or when talking to a partner. All of these things may be equally beneficial, whether wishing to conceive naturally or with help from Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as IVF. The structure of therapy will always be governed by the individual's needs, and adaptable to suit any change in the client's situation or goals.

Mind/body techniques such as hypnosis have been shown to increase the chances of natural conception by 110% in published research [2], whilst other research into the use of specific hypnotic techniques and natural conception [3] showed that hypnosis based on imagery and a relaxation strategy was successful in facilitating pregnancy. The treatment was considered to have resulted in beneficial modification of attitude, optimism, and mind-body interaction.

Hypnotherapy can also be particularly effective in uncovering subconscious blocks, which may be a factor in some cases of infertility, particularly in unexplained fertility cases. And of course, it may also be able to help with secondary issues, such as needle phobia, weight control and stopping smoking.

Please note that, as with any talking therapy, results may vary from person to person.



Unexplained infertility:



Unexplained infertility (about 25% of infertility cases according to NICE guidelines, 2013) can be particularly hard to deal with, leaving couples feeling helpless, with their lives on hold, and desperately wanting answers that just don't seem to be available. In these situations, hypnotherapy can be helpful by seeking to establish a state of mind that is healthier, and hopefully more conducive to becoming pregnant.



IVF:



For many women there is a strong psychological impact from IVF treatment, adding to the existing psychological distress of infertility; the process can be exhausting and painful, both physically and mentally, and is time consuming and disruptive to normal life patterns. Hypnotherapy can help women to cope with these stresses, and also help to reconnect mind and body to the whole process. As an example, the difficulties encountered during the process can initiate negative thinking which can lead to feelings of pessimism in general, and also towards the process and outcomes. Hypnosis can help with effective positive visualisations, specifically targeted towards the needs of the individual, creating a more positive state in mind and body. Hypnosis can also be used to help with specific stages in the process, again as an example, using physical relaxation and anxiety management techniques during the egg retrieval process.

Although research in this area is sadly limited, several studies have shown that hypnosis can be an effective adjunct to IVF treatment: An Israeli study presented to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology conference in Berlin (2004), demonstrated that hypnosis effectively doubled the success of IVF treatments. The study, by Professor Eliahu Levitas and his team at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, was to determine if hypnosis could improve the success of the embryo transfers stage of IVF. The study of 185 women found that 28% of the women who were hypnotised 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 demonstrated how the stress of the procedure created small contractions of the uterus that prevented the successful implantation of the fertilised egg. The professor indicated that tranquillisers 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. "The bottom line is I think it's a good thing, it will work. Patients should be given the option if facilities are available".

[1] The Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 1999, vol. 54.
[2] The Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 1999, and the Journal of Fertility and Sterility 2000. (Studies conducted by Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Beth Israel Deaconess Behavioural Medicine Program for Infertility in Boston)
[3] The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis 1995, (Vol 38, Issue 1, 1995, 22-26): Hypnosis in the Treatment of Functional Infertility.



Qualifications in fertility work:



I am a Certified Hypnotic Fertility Practitioner (CHFP), registered as an easibirthing® Fertility Specialist. I trained with Sharon Mustard, a leading expert in the field of working with hypnosis for fertility. For more details on my background and training, please see the Home Page of this site.

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Please note that, as with any talking therapy, results may vary from person to person.


Call me directly on 07831-693684 to make an appointment, or send me an e-mail (there's a 'contact me' link below).

Sessions are at Snowsfields Wellness Centre, near to London Bridge station, SE1, and cost £75.00.