In the UK, fertility issues affect around 3.5 million people and more than 50,000 IVF cycles are performed each year; and as we are waiting longer and longer before we start our families this seems to be an increasing issue.
Hypnotherapy to improve/aid fertility is gaining in popularity with both clients and fertility clinics alike. A few years ago research was carried out which concluded that people who used some form of hypnosis whilst going through IVF treatment, doubled their success rate.
In my private practice I often find that my client’s problems stem from beliefs they have, many of these they have been persuaded to accept by others. The persuaders often think that they know best and express their views from a position of authority, and in some cases truly believe they are helping. Their suggestions are accepted without question, you could say they are hypnotised into their belief. And yet many of the people who take on these suggestions are the very people who are sceptical about hypnosis and its effectiveness; totally unaware of just how easily they can be persuaded to accept negative suggestions.
The mind has enormous power over the body, which is constantly influenced by our emotions, thoughts and beliefs. Our thoughts and beliefs can affect our bodies, even manifesting themselves physically. We are able to change physical symptoms by how we feel. For example; when watching a movie we sometimes get so caught up in the story that the feelings we get for the characters are real.
There are many factors responsible for infertility, and our emotions can affect the delicately balanced hormonal system, which in turn controls ovulation, spermatogenesis and pregnancy.
You may consciously be saying yes to having a baby and yet fail to get pregnant – this may be due to your mind saying no deep down. Emotions can affect the delicately balanced hormonal system also which in turn controls ovulation, spermatogenesis and pregnancy.
To develop the perspective needed to conceive you need to view yourself as a fertile person – united in body and mind in the process of having a baby.
Over the last twenty years there has been a significant rise in the number of people who experience problems conceiving. Approximately 25% of couples planning to have a baby experience problems, and it is common for them to take two – three years to conceive their first child. Of those who seek medical help 30% are told they have unexplained infertility for which medical science can offer no explanation.
Many, after trying for a child for some time go to their doctor “just to make sure” everything is OK and are given suggestions like “they have old eggs”, “they have left it too late”, and one couple was actually told that they were incompatible. We are programmed from a very early age to rely on doctors opinions for our health and well-being and so these suggestions are readily accepted.
Most of the fears and beliefs that my clients have, they have acquired from “well-meaning” medical professionals, their families (mothers, aunts, grandmothers) and friends. People that they trust who think that by making them accept the possibility that they wont conceive that they are actually helping them. Many of my clients need help with their relationship with their partner too, often saying things like “maybe the doctor is right when he/she says we are incompatible”.
Women in their thirties and forties often get pregnant and produce healthy children, and in the past 20 years births to the over 40’s has increased by 50%. It is even possible to become pregnant whilst in the menopause, many women fall pregnant this way because they think “they are safe”. One woman I know in her 50’s, became pregnant as she thought she was in her menopause, all her other children had actually left home.
Biologically it is more efficient for women to have their families when they are in their teens and early twenties. But in recent years the average age of women having their first baby has been going up because many of us now want to establish ourselves in a career before starting families. The media’s (recent) inclination to depict women over 35 who want babies as desperate, caught up in a biological clock panic and having wombs that are too old to work can damage the beliefs of millions of women. Given that thoughts and beliefs stimulate hormonal secretions through our bodies these statements can become biological realities in women who believe they really are too old to have babies.
Deepak Chopra MD believes our cells are constantly eavesdropping on our thoughts and being changed by them. Because our mind influences every cell – human aging is fluid and changeable.
There is a connection between language and our well being. The people around us influencing us, the words they use persuading us. I am sure we have all met people who can change how you feel as soon as you meet. There are those people we love to be with because they make us feel so good and then there are others. Almost like mood hovers they travel through life sucking up all the good feelings around them, bringing you down. Emotions and feelings are infectious.
Most surgeons nowadays are aware of the effect their language can have in the operating theatre. Although the patient is not conscious, their unconscious is constantly aware and listening and there have been cases of people recalling later things that were said whilst they were under anaesthesia. Hyper sensitive to what was being said around them and responding accordingly. Many doctors are now also becoming more and more aware of how their language also affects the conscious patient, using language to give hope rather than set their patients up for failure.
Doctors are divided over the importance of stress in infertility and yet studies have shown that it can affect a man’s fertility to the point where not only is the sperm count reduced but also the quality of the sperm. Stress can also affect a man’s hormone balance, lowering his levels of testosterone and luteinising hormone.
The release of the stress hormone in response to a crisis can also affect a woman’s ability to conceive and in extreme cases can stop her ovulating.
Couples trying for a baby often experience high levels of stress, particularly if medical help is required. The longer it takes, the more anxious they become and the more chance of stress inhibiting their fertility.
There are many stories of couples who have given up fertility investigations, maybe adopting and then find they conceive. One woman got so bored trying for a baby that she decided to find herself a career. As soon as she found her job she got pregnant.
REDUCING YOUR STRESS LEVELS
If stress is a factor in your life it is worth learning some form of relaxation, stress management technique or meditation. Hypnotherapy can be helpful to you as it can work on the subconscious to address emotional blockages.
When desperate to conceive, lovemaking can lose its spontaneity as there is a feeling that intercourse must happen at certain times and that these mustn’t be missed. Sexual intimacy is often affected by the regime of fertility treatments too. With the partner feeling pressurised to perform “when the time is right” rather than when desired.
Some couples feel that their body has betrayed them – feeling alienated from their body at a time when they need to be most comfortable with themselves. Many couples complain of a loss of passion and tenderness in the wake of the baby making routine.
Research has shown that the more enjoyable the lovemaking the more likely the mum to be is to retain more active sperm. Especially if the woman has orgasm, it is believed that the contractions caused by the orgasm draws in more sperm and that her arousal may make the vagina less acidic, increasing the chances of the sperm surviving longer. The message is to relax and enjoy yourselves.
Hypnosis and mind-body approaches not only help fertility clients to deal with the process whether that be by being patient as they conceive naturally or cope with the treatment they receive at the Fertility Clinic.
Tina Taylor is a Licensed Master Trainer of NLP, Hypnotherapist, Design Human Engineer and author of Painless Childbirth and internationally acclaimed self help CDs (http://www.tina-taylor.com) .
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