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Hypnosis and Fertility
by Christine Nightingale, BA, RM, CH


Editor's Note from Cynthia Lindner: Hypnosis is well known as an affective tool for issues like smoking, stress and weight, however this article takes you into the area of fertility and explains how the mind-body can resolve fertility issues when hypnotherapy is utilized.

Hypnosis is well recognized for its effectiveness in smoking cessation, weight control, eliminating phobias and general habit changing. Interestingly, some of these issues pose the greatest threats to fertility. In fertility work the goal is to attain personal empowerment, which will let nature take its course through inner peace, and the ability to accept, appreciate and embrace life. Stress and a lack of confidence tend to be the top culprits that must be addressed when working with clients for fertility.

Hypnotherapy reduces stress and increases confidence, instilling a sense of control, which maximizes chances of conceiving naturally and/or increases the success of medical assistance. Hypnosis affects the hypothalamus, the neural centre at the base of the brain linked to the pituitary gland, which controls the flow of hormones to the body.  

Unresolved issues about having a baby can be addressed with counseling and hypnotherapy. It has been stated that the stress of infertility is equal to that of cancer, divorce or other traumatic events. The hypothalamus controls the hormones affecting the monthly release of the ovum, and preparation of the uterine lining for implantation.

One of the most common tests for infertility, the Follicle Stimulating hormone or FSH test is taken as indicative of infertility if the score is over ten. High FSH means that the body is generating a higher level of the hormone responsible for the production of viable eggs in order to compensate for a reproductive system that is underperforming.

However, FSH is strongly impacted by stress, so a woman who is experiencing high stress may not get an accurate read on her fertility situation based on an FSH test. A woman who has already had a hard time getting pregnant, and is tense about the possible “sentence of infertility” that may be given to her by an authority figure, is unlikely to be calm and relaxed, which in many cases would lead to a truer, and lower, FSH reading.

The function of hypnotherapy is to relax the person and address subconscious barriers to conception. Everyone understands that stress can cause skin rashes, headaches, and even heart attacks. If the body is under stress, the sympathetic nervous system prepares for fight or flight, which is totally incompatible with preparation for reproduction.

However, it is more complicated than this. The reasons why a woman may shut down (not ovulate, or not prepare a suitable uterine lining to maintain a pregnancy) may have much more to do with factors from many years ago–messages she received and believed about her own fertility or perhaps fitness to be a mother. Messages like “all the women in my family have difficulty conceiving” can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

We are not a brain with a body attached. Every cell responds to the messages which   we believe to be true. Many of them are detrimental, but because they operate at a subconscious level, they can only be addressed at a subconscious level. A woman who has had a miscarriage or abortion or has given a baby up for adoption, or has undergone other sorts of trauma, may have difficulty conceiving because emotional healing has not yet occurred.

On average, a woman with a diagnosis of infertility has a 23.9% chance of carrying a baby to term after an IVF procedure (Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, 2003 newsletter on Canadian Assisted Reproductive Technologies in Canada). When this method is complemented by Hypnotherapy, Reiki, or other body-mind methods, the stats rise to 45-65% take-home babies.

In the very first study documenting the results of hypnosis with fertility, done by doctors Quinn and Pawson in 1994, they used a group of women aged from 26 to 42 years (mean age of 32 years) who had been infertile for 2-12 years (mean of 3 ½ years.) Each of these women participated in an average of 9 hypnotherapy sessions. Nine of the 40 also received additional treatment including IVF or Gamete Intra-Fallopian Transfer. 31 received only hypnotherapy. 26 of the 40 went on to have successful full-term pregnancies–a staggering success rate. Why the huge disparity? Because in fact many of the women diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” have a perfectly good reason for being infertile–their bodies are under so much stress (often due to issue of the past, not present) that the fertility switch, operated by the hypothalamus, is virtually always in the “off” position.

It is a truism that many couples who give up on fertility procedures, and adopt, suddenly become pregnant. That’s likely because the pressure is off and they can finally relax. It would probably make sense for most couples to use about ten sessions of mind-body work, at a fraction of the cost of allopathic medical procedures, (on average IVF costs  $10,000-$15,000 per session) to increase their chances of having a baby naturally. This can be done before, concurrent with or after allopathic procedures such as IVF.



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About the Author

Christine Nightingale, BA, RM, CH has earned a degree in psychology and has been an Alternative therapist for the past 15 years. Her modalities of choice include Hypnosis, (Certified Hypnotherapist, National Guild of Hypnotists) Reiki energy healing, and Aromatherapy. Her intuitive skills are also an important part of her practice. Christine's teaching experience includes Holistic Nutrition and Introduction to Alternative Therapy at George Brown College from 2007-2009. Her home office is located in Brampton in Canada and you can learn more about her work by visiting www.nightingalehealing.com or contact her via email nightiangel92@hotmail.com.





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