Can Hypnotherapy help with Fertility?

can hypnotherapy help with fertility?

Steph McGee

I’m a Trauma Informed Clinical Hypnotherapist on a mission to help. Hypnosis feels like a magic wand. But in truth? The real magic is you.

95% of people trying for a baby conceive within the first two years

TWO YEARS

So thats around 24 cycles of dashed hopes, feelings of failure, sadness, grief and fear. 24 months of other people getting pregnant ahead of you. And 24 months of fertility investigation waiting lists if you manage to get on one.

And if you’re reading this, chances are you’re already in the 5%.

Suffice to say, it can feel like a LONG and LONELY road (and I’ve been there).

And with all that information out there about the mind-body connection of conception?

Can Hypnotherapy help with fertility?

YES!

From reducing stress levels, improving mood and softening your responses to your situation. To helping your relationships, calming the vagus nerve, giving you a positive focus for conception or embryo transfer and helping you learn to love your body again? I’d say yes:

Hypnotherapy can help with Fertility

Hypnotherapy is as useful for men as it is women, and the pressure of infertility piles the pressure on partners, whatever their gender.

And whilst we need to be grown up and not think of Hypnotherapy as the instant road to success for everyone, Hypnotherapy is so gorgeous you’d have to be crazy not to give it a whirl.

Menu of Contents

  1. What is infertility?
  2. What is infertility hypnotherapy?
  3. How to start hypnotherapy
  4. What to expect in a hypnotherapy session
  5. How many sessions you need
  6. But can hypnotherapy get you pregnant?
  7. How does hypnotherapy help?
  8. The trouble with not conceiving
  9. Unexplained Infertility
  10. IVF hypnosis
  11. Men
  12. What the research says

 

So couples & singles, turn to hypnotherapy because of all the ways it can help.

And the most common reasons clients people give for working with me include stress reduction, creating space, subconscious ‘blocks’ and preparation for IVF.

But studies have shown that low mood can have a more significant effect on fertility than stress.

And a prolonged fertility journey, including the medicalised nature of IVF and ICSI, can lead to low mood AND stress, which can be the cause of unexplained infertility in the first place.

Which explains why it can feel like a self perpetuating cycle!

a spiral of mallow flowers in purple, white and cream against a teal background to demonstrate the spiral of infertility stress as well as the positive upward spiral of hypnotherapy that helps

What is infertility?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), infertility is a “disease of the reproductive system defined by the failure to achieve a clinical pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sexual intercourse.”

And the CDC add the well know (sucker punch) that “because fertility in women is known to decline steadily with age, some providers evaluate and treat women aged 35 years or older after 6 months of unprotected sex.”

But this completely misses out singles and LGBTQ+ couples who struggle with the same (if not more) physical and emotional factors, social infertility, and are almost immediately looking at a more medicalised route to pregnancy…

What is Fertility Hypnotherapy?

The UK Independent regulator, the Complementary National Healthcare Council define Hypnotherapy as a skilled communication therapy aimed at directing a person’s imagination in a way that helps elicit changes in perceptions, sensations, feelings, thoughts and behaviours.

So Hypnosis for Fertility as Clinical Hypnotherapy that is bespoke to someone who’s trying to get pregnant!

Hypnotherapy always involves a combination of talking therapy and clinical hypnosis, but the detail of what that looks like is down to you and your therapist.

So depending on your situation, your therapy might be focused on IVF implantation hypnosis, re-defining with your fertile self or creating a happier, easier life with reduced stress or lighter mood (or just bringing back the love!)

 

Fertility hypnosis is not limited to but usually includes:

  • Progressive muscle relaxation
  • Induction (and self deepening)
  • Indirect trance
  • Direct trance
  • Anchors
  • Guided imagery
  • Ericksonian Metaphor
  • Fear release

And where applicable:

  • Trauma Rewind Therapy
  • Phobia Rewind & Reframe
  • Integrated Parts Hypnosis (also know as inner world work)

 

white middle age blonde woman relaxing on a brown leather recliner in black leggings and grey sweatshirt during a hypnotherapy for her first fertility session

What to expect from hypnotherapy

The Initial Consultation

Hypnosis is powerful and like all things that have a positive effect, it’s important to be aware of the side effects no matter how unlikely they may be.

So Hypnotherapy starts with an Initial Consultation.

This is an opportunity to find out how Hypnotherapy and hypnosis work, set out your initial goals, check for any contraindications to hypnosis (like psychosis or epilepsy), and talk through the consent process before moving onto formal therapy.

Your First Therapy session

In your first Hypnotherapy session I shall ask your best hopes for our working together. It’s important that we both know what your goals are so that we can assess your progress and the effectiveness of your therapy. You can think of this like setting a destination on a sat nav before we build your therapeutic plan.

In subsequent sessions we will work towards what you want, helping you focus more positively, learn to calm your nervous system, build your coping strategies and positively focus your subject mind.

You can book hypnotherapy sessions after your Initial Consultation.

And you can relax, knowing I use ongoing assessment to ensure that we are moving in the right direction and  we will always led by what’s important to you.

All sessions are online via Zoom, so you can work with me from the comfort and convenience of your home.

How many session do you need?

It depends on you. And I know it’s easier when someone tells you to buy a package – a package they sell to everyone.

But this is your fertility journey, and empowerment and control deserve to be a part of it.

So my clients book session to session. Some see me for just a few weeks, others for months and some keep me for years.

Some like to book their sessions around:

  • a set time frame
  • no limits
  • one or two weeks apart
  • IVF appointments
  • self hypnosis for IVF implantation

After the Initial Consultation, sessions can be booked one at a time or you might like the option of a 5 session pack.

yellow and black road sign signing a question in front of a long empty road demonstrating the a long fertility journey

But can Hypnotherapy get you pregnant?

Forgive me, I’m going to be a bit finickity…

A baby is made through successful fertilisation, implantation and growth of an egg…with a sperm – not Hypnotherapy.

The LOOK on my hypnotherapists face when I ran into her clinic after 3 sessions announcing “You got me pregnant!” told me I needed to choose my words more carefully!

Because Hypnotherapy, wonderful as it is, is just a talking therapy. And while you will almost certainly hear fabulous success stories like mine Hypnotherapy itself, definitely can not get you pregnant…but can hypnotherapy help?

So how does Hypnotherapy help?

It can help in multiple ways and how you want Hypnotherapy to help is down to you and your hypnotherapist.

A prolonged fertility journey can be excruciatingly painful. It’s like a pain without relief and a grief without the healing of time. And no one has a crystal ball.

But my Hypnotherapy clients have asked for help with:

  • Emotional pain
  • Physical pain
  • Stress & low mood
  • Self care & emotional balance
  • Finding space to breath
  • Creating an acceptance of pregnancy
  • Positively focusing the mind (including away from fertility)
  • Past traumas
  • Moving on from infidelity
  • Perception of subconscious blocks
  • Keep your uterus still during IVF

And anything else you want to through at me!

a white womans hands holding a red heart shape to demostrate the love hormones needs to for conception and fertility

The trouble with not conceiving

Worrying that you might be in the 5% that take more than 2 years, sadness that you already are, grief at the passing of time and fear of not getting pregnant at all  – they all take their toll.

Infertility can feel like a continual buzzing of underlying stress. And when I say stress, I use it as a generic term rather than a medical one, to describe the continual negative forecasting, rumination and all round negative thought patterns associated with a pregnancy thats evading you.

Fear, stress and worry take their toll on body and mind.

Body and Mind we are designed for one thing:

  • Survival

And sure, procreation is an important part of survival but there’s no point in babies if YOU don’t survive.

Hypnotherapy & Conception

Without meaning to quote the Black Eyed Peas…Where is the LOVE?

Your entire biological system is set up to save no 1 and park everything else until you are safe. It’s why we have a wobbly tummy before big exams, why some of us have untimely periods when we’re stressed, why hands sweat, hearts beats, we wake up at 4am – mind racing  and we think think THINK about the problem without meaning to.

“Conception and Birth are merely the same event merely separated by nine months of time”

Obstetrician, Michel Odent

Conception, like birth, needs to be a time of love and safety. However you do it natural, IUI, IVF etc, the calming hormones of your parasympathetic hormones like Oxytocin & Endorphins, need to flow, relaxing body and mind – read the research on IVF to have your mind BLOWN!

And if this all happens at the right time, with the right support you just MIGHT get pregnant.

So in my book, a good part of your hypnotherapy package needs to focus on that calm state of being.

Knowing how to:

  • Breath
  • Let go of stress
  • Cope with stress!
  • Quieten the mind
  • Focusing on whats working
  • Letting go of what doesn’t
beautiful lavender field depicting the hope of unexplained infertility

Unexplained Infertility

The diagnosis of unexplained infertility is given to 1 in 4 couples in the UK struggling to conceive. And it is thought that as much as 40% of women having IVF are in this group.

And to the untrained eye, unexplained infertility is a good thing.

But here’s the thing.

Studies have now show that (in addition to depression) stress does have an effect on fertility.

In a study by Prof G.Anderson showed that a group of nerve cells near the base of the brain (RFRP neurons) activate during stress and suppresses the reproductive system.

Which means that stress can not only aggravate infertility , but cause it as well.

So suddenly the advice of ‘have a holiday’ ‘relax & it will happen” or my favourite “you need hypnotherapy” all start to sound a little less grating.

woman in a red dress showing signs of stress as she is welcomed into an ivf appointment

IVF

In Vitro Fertilisation or IVF is often seen as the last chance saloon or a magic cure in equal measure.

And as a highly medicalised (sometimes traumatic) process, the emotional side of IVF tends to be overlooked as you move further and further away from the beautiful nuances of conception.

But IVF deserves the same love & acceptance as natural conception. My clients learn relaxation techniques, breathing techniques and IVF focused self hypnosis to calm the stress response before, after and during key procedures.

And studies have concluded that Hypnosis is found to double pregnancy rates in IVF. 

A small 2006 study by E.Levitas checked two groups of women preparing for IVF for matching criteria such as age, peak pre-ovulatory E2 level, number of oocytes retrieved, and both the number and quality of embryos transferred.

The hypnosis group were guided to choose a pleasant life experience for use in hypnosis during the ET. The hypnotic state was induced with eye fixation, relaxation, and permissive (self directed) and indirect suggestions. And they were asked to think of ET as the welcoming of a long awaited, welcome guest.

The Result?

The 98 cycles in the hypnosis group achieved a 53.1% pregnancy rate with an implantation rate of 28%. Whereas, the 96 cycles in the (no hypnosis) control group achieved 30.2% pregnancies with an implantation rate of 14.4%.

The study (amongst others) concluded that reduced stress levels and reduced stress related activity in the uterus increased the chances of embryo implantation.

seen from shoulders down, white man on a grey sofa sitting as he worries about his fertility with a cute beagle dog on his lap

 Men

Sorry, the men get a section to themselves in this one.

Women are far more likely to book hypnotherapy during their fertility journey than cis men. Men (this is a whopping generalisation) tend to:

  • have their sperm count done
  • get their sperm quality results
  • wear baggy boxers
  • quit smoking & reduce alcohol
  • get ‘healthy’
  • hold in the fears & doubts
  • not talk about their worries
  • tolerate the continual buzz of stress

Not getting pregnant is hard on men too. Feelings of failure, depression, inability to talk, pain at seeing your distress (seeing ALL your NVCs!), and their love life has become as stressed and pressured as yours.

And of course a sizeable chunk of men are carrying the added complexity of abnormal sperm function, decrease in sperm mobility or a failed vasectomy reversal.

So Hypnotherapy helps men too. Hypnotherapy is a place of non-judgemental space in which to find better ways of coping, living & loving life.

They can learn to:

  • calm their central nervous system
  • embrace their strengths and skills
  • give themselves credit
  • move forward, reaching positive goals
  • quit unhealthy habits
  • find confidence in the male fertility journey

Start your Hypnotherapy sessions an Initial Consultation.

Conclusion

I trust you’ll find happiness and I believe in your ability to get pregnant. Clinical Hypnotherapy is a wondrous tool that can help in ways far beyond the obvious, and how it helps is only limited by your ability to be open to it.

Clinical Hypnotherapy can’t promise to be a fix-all and it should never been seen as such. Yes, some people get pregnant with hypnosis straight away (I was one of them) and see other amazing things happen, but just as our biology is set up, and no matter how you feel, the most important person is YOU.

References

Impact of hypnosis during embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization–embryo transfer: a case-control study, E. Levitas et al. 2006

Evaluating group psychological interventions for mental health in women with infertility undertaking fertility treatment: A systematic review and meta-Analysis, E. Warne et al, 2001

Impact of group psychological interventions on pregnancy rates in infertile women, A Domar et al, 2000

Hypnosis versus Diazepam for Embryo Transfer: A Randomized Controlled Study, P. Catoire et al, 2013

Stress reduces conception probabilities across the fertile window: evidence in support of relaxation, Faccinetti et al, 1997

An increased vulnerability to stress is associated with a poor outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment, Faymonville et al 1997

Psychological approaches during conscious sedation. Hypnosis versus stress reducing strategies: a prospective randomized study, Fayonmille et al, 1997

Mood state as a predictor of treatment outcome after In Vitro fertilization/embryo transfer technology (IVF/ET) Thiering et al 1993

Hypnosis reduces preoperative anxiety in adult patients, Sadaat et al, 2006

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