5 ways to treat infertility
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates that one in seven heterosexual couples will experience infertility. Meanwhile, the NHS state that approximately 84% of heterosexual couples will conceive within a year when they are having unprotected sex every two to three days. And, if you have not conceived within a year, they recommend an appointment with your doctor.
Treatment for infertility varies and will depend on both your personal circumstance and preference. Hypnotherapy can be beneficial as a stand-alone therapy for fertility, as well as complementary to other treatments.
One study in the Fertility and Sterility Journal worked with 12 women who had not had a period for over six months. After just one hypnotherapy session, nine of the participants reported the onset of menstruation within 12 weeks. One of the participants fell pregnant after the first menstruation, three had a regular cycle length, two had a slightly longer cycle length and the other three menstruated once. All participants reported positive side effects of the hypnotherapy session.
A study published in the Journal of the Indian Medical Association looked at psychotherapeutic intervention with hypnosis in 554 couples with infertility. Over a period of 28 years, the researchers studied 554 couples with unexplained infertility. Pregnancy occurred in 397 couples, equalling an overall success rate of 71%. The researchers considered a dropout a failure - 143 couples dropped out, and the researchers put them in the 'failure' box, despite the couples not partaking in the full treatment.
Of those taking part, 26 had a laparoscopy to exclude spasms of the tubes - it was explained to them that there was, in fact, no block of the tubes but a spasm that is a symptom of a psychological issue. Following indirect hypnosis to deal with these issues, 16 of these couples (61.5%) conceived.
1. Hormone treatment for infertility
Hormone treatment is useful when there is the possibility of a hormone imbalance causing infertility. All genders will experience hormone imbalances, however, hormone treatment is usually given to those who menstruate, as it can help the eggs to mature and stimulates ovulation.
Hormone treatment for infertility is mostly non-evasive but does usually require injections, blood tests and ultrasounds. The hormones might cause hot flushes, headaches, depressive moods and hyperstimulation. These side effects can, therefore, be more troubling than the treatment itself.
Hypnotherapy could be considered alongside hormone treatment:
- if you have a fear of needles and do not want this to negatively affect the process, or to help you complete the process.
- to reduce the risk of side effects. Hypnosis is shown to help with hot flushes, headaches, and depressive moods.
- as a listening ear. Infertility treatment is not a day-to-day activity. You may find yourself awash with emotion and need someone to talk to that is not emotionally involved. When you speak with a therapist you do so guilt-free, you will not ‘take up their time’ or ‘talk too much’. It is someone you can share all your problems with without feeling like a burden.
2. Laparoscopy for infertility
When you seek treatment for fertility, your doctor might suggest a laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure to see inside your body. Your doctor will look at your reproductive system, including your uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes to detect any abnormalities.
Laparoscopic surgery is a choice, and you should always seek as much information as possible before saying yes to the procedure. General anaesthetic is required for the surgery. If you choose to undergo a laparoscopic procedure, hypnotherapy sessions will help you to relax in the lead-up and to heal efficiently after surgery.
3. Acupuncture for infertility
Acupuncture for infertility has, for many, been very effective. Like hypnotherapy, acupuncture is useful as a standalone treatment or complementary to medical intervention.
Acupuncture and hypnotherapy work alongside each other to aid you physically and mentally, with the intention of helping you conceive without medical intervention.
4. Natural infertility treatments
You will find many natural infertility treatments on the market. When you research the right treatment for you, keep in mind that it is always better to work holistically. One treatment might not treat the whole of you.
For example, working with a nutritional therapist, a hypnotherapist and a bodywork therapist will give you a greater chance of pregnancy success rather than focusing on just one part of yourself.
5. Hypnotherapy for infertility
When working with clients, it is never my aim to have them finish therapy pregnant. Of course, that sometimes does happen. I have experience of clients that come for an initial consultation and then phone me before a first session to say that they are pregnant. However, the aim, from my point of view, is to finish the course of therapy with peace of mind.
How can hypnotherapy help?
There are many reasons that you might choose to speak to a hypnotherapist when you wish to conceive. Hypnotherapy will help your belief system; sometimes previous experiences create fear in your mind. The fear might be about an aspect of being pregnant, giving birth or even about being a parent. When you speak with a hypnotherapist, you will navigate this emotion, allowing it to pass on. You will feel more confident about pregnancy and allow your body to relax in the process.
Trauma, stress and anxiety put your body into a constant state of fight or flight. When your body is in this life-saving response, in that moment your body needs to direct resources from areas not needed - like the reproductive system - to the areas of your body needed to fight or flee. Hypnotherapy helps you move from the fight or flight into a stable state.
When your body is calm, your reproductive system will function optimally.
When you have a goal that you need to achieve before embarking on an IVF journey, for example, to put on or lose weight or to eliminate your fear of needles, hypnotherapy will help. Many people seek the support of a hypnotherapist not to fall pregnant directly but to help with something that is preventing them from taking the steps they need to fall pregnant.
As previously mentioned, hypnosis is wonderful when used in conjunction with IVF. I worked with a client that knew her consultant. She told me that when the consultant implanted the embryo he told a joke so that she laughed. His aim was to relax her body at the important moment. Hypnosis will help you to relax your body, when you go through the stages of IVF you can use the techniques you learned in the session to help your body relax.
During your hypnotherapy sessions, your hypnotherapist will use a mixture of techniques, some designed to help you process emotions, others that will help you to relax and some that give you tools to help your mind improve the functioning of your body. Hypnosis in a therapeutic setting is generally a very relaxing experience and something that most people walk away from feeling much lighter than they walked in.