Certainly the shock of the unexpected edict of infertility lands like a bomb and ushers you into a
world where worry about achieving parenthood causes an upward spiral of stress with each
passing month. There is ongoing controversy as to whether stress log jams the quest for
conception in the first place. The answer is, to my way of thinking, irrelevant and not useful.
All that matters now is that once you are in the struggle to conceive, your body is most likely to
respond with the physiology of stress and the need to reverse it.
As the science of fertility has become ever more sophisticated, the discoveries of
psychoneuroimmunology have run a parallel path. (Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI) is the study
of the interaction between mind, brain and bodily health.) Now, the unity of mind and body has
been proven to be indisputable. As a result, the mentality of both the patient population and
medical practitioners has shifted to acceptance of this unity. Myriad techniques are in the public
eye, there for the taking, by which the physiology of stress can be reversed. Women are
clamoring into yoga-for-fertility classes, signing up for nutritional intervention (you are what
you eat), seeking homeopathy, acupuncture and mind/body classes, making life-style changes
and more. This is wise.
What hypnosis offers beyond the capacity to reverse the physiology of stress that other forms of
stress-reduction do not is the utilization of the unconscious mind as an ally. Hypnosis is not just
a technique that by virtue of its power to settle the nervous system achieves stress reduction. It is
also a technique by which a skilled hypnotherapist can encourage communication between your
thoughts and receptor sites in your organs and hormone systems that are directly related to
reproduction. Hypnosis is a modality which has the power to potentiate treatment regardless of
diagnosis or lack thereof, and whether you are in medical treatment or committed to natural or
holistic attempts at conception.
What would it entail for you to add hypnosis to your arsenal?
You would need to understand the importance of simmering down the emotionality of infertility
and recognize that emotional distress cannot help but land in the body. Conversely, you would
need to understand that the feel of tension in the body bombards into mental awareness as a
feeling of emotional un-well-being. And you would need to appreciate your power to intervene
in this stress cycle. That’s all.
There are many doors into this mind/body healing vortex, but it is hypnosis which is the most
like a laser beam in its capacity to launch from the “master apothecary” (the brain) the chemical
communication which can favorably impact your physical and emotional receptivity to hosting
As it stands now, there is research which has shown that pregnancy rates were double in the
group which had hypnosis at the time of embryo transfer compared to a control group. The
researchers were able to determine via ultra sound scans that uterine contractions were reduced,
which may explain the higher implantation rates. (Eliahu Levitas, MD, et al, Impact of Hypnosis
During Embryo Transfer on the Outcome of In Vitro Fertilization – Embryo Transfer: A Case
Control Study, Fertility and Sterility, Vol. 85, No. 5, May, 2006) Think of the impact on the
entire reproductive cycle, with or without IVF, if hypnosis were to be part of your protocol!
Certainly there are conceptions that take place despite some women’s level of high anxiety. No
doubt, there is more to the story than meets the eye. We do know that a person’s underlying
belief system matters. Sometimes there are interfering factors of which even you as the patient
are unaware. For this reason alone, it is important that you make sure that you seek treatment
with someone who is not only trained in hypnosis, but is also qualified to help you uncover any
blocks to parenthood—having nothing to do with stress—that you may not know are lurking in
At the very least, hypnosis is a great way to create an oasis from the frenzy of the fertility
struggle. I’ve never seen a person feel anything by relief for having had a hypnotic respite.
Beyond that, hypnosis can be tailored to address your particular goals. It seems that it would
certainly be worth a try to find out if this adjunct to medical treatment suits you. It is my hope
for you that you could then move on to using hypnosis to facilitate childbirth.
Published with permission
© 2007Helen Adrienne, LCSW, BCD
420 East 64 th Street
New York, NY 10065