Research showing the benefits of hypnotherapy for Fertility problems by Ruth Allen


Hypnotherapy and Fertility

by Ruth Allen (Fertile Body Therapist)

In this paper I intend to show the benefits of Hypnotherapy for women with fertility problems. To research the programmes available to the hypnotherapist in assisting with the implementation of such a programme in to their practice.

Over the last twenty years there has been a significant rise in the number in people who experience problems conceiving. With approximately 25% of couples planning to have a baby experiencing problems. [1] It is common for them to take two/three years to conceive their first child. And for those who seek medical help 30% are told they have unexplained fertility for which science can offer no explanation.[2]

Biologically it is more efficient for women to have their families when they are young. But in recent years the average age of women having their first baby has been going up because many women want to establish themselves in a career before starting a family. The medias recent inclination to depict women over 35 who want to have children as desperate, caught up in biological clock panic and having wombs too old to work, can damage the beliefs of millions of women worldwide. Given that thought and beliefs stimulate hormonal secretion through our bodies, these statements can become realities in women who believe they really are too old to conceive.[3]

According to Margaret Jasinska ND (Author of Infertility the Hidden Causes) and Dr. Sandra Cabot (Author of the Liver Cleansing Diet) one in six couples are infertile. One in three women over 35 will experience difficulty conceiving and sperm counts in males are more than halved in the last 50 years.[4] A 2003 study found that males who have trouble conceiving and report distress as a result, showed lower sperm quality when re-tested a year later.[5]Several studies show how stress influences sperm quality and in some studies timed intercourse is mentioned as a contributing factor in stress related anjaculation (inability to ejaculate.) [6]

While studying for my Diploma I learnt about the Law of Reversed effort – the more we try for something the harder it becomes to achieve. The trying causes stress and prevents the very thing the client is trying to achieve.

Research for Fertility and Hypnotherapy

Infertile women using mind/body techniques such as hypnosis have a 42%-55% conception rate compare to 20% with in vitro fertilisation.[7]

Hypnosis based on imagery and a relaxation strategy was successful in facilitating pregnancy. The treatment was considered to have resulted in beneficial modification on attitude, optimism and mind-body interactions.[8]

Research has shown that hypnosis for fertility doubles the success of IVF treatment. Researchers in Soroka University in Israel found that 28% of women in a group that were hypnotised became pregnant compared to 14% of those who were not hypnotised.[9]

Research has shown that fertility can be affected by mind-body therapies such as hypnosis. Dr. Ernest Rossi specialises in psychobiology, the relationship between mind and psychical body states. He has done extensive research which suggest that human genes must be in a state of readiness for conception to take place, and that hypnotic type suggestions can activate specific genes.[10]

In her research Dr Elizabeth Muir a clinical psychologist based in London conducted a ground breaking study where she focused on the mind-body connection- using mostly hypnotherapy and psychotherapy-with women who had unexplained infertility. The results of her research showed that, after completing Dr. Muirs programme, 45% of women with unexplained infertility were able to conceive and carry the pregnancy full term. Dr Muir speaking on the issue of infertility said ” Hypnotherapy is particularly successful in the area of fertility it enables us to access sub-conscious issues, which might be related to fertility. Very often an individual is not aware of those issues. With the skilled use of hypnotherapy a subject is helped to elicit her own individual ability to resolve her specific issues of fertility.”[11]Dr Muirs research has become worldwide. Since her landmark study, hypnotherapy has become an important tool used to identify and process roadblocks and fears that may be preventing fertility.

Recent research indicates that psychological distress may impair fertility and that depressive symptoms may reduce the efficiency of infertility treatment. Several studies conducted within the past three years support the theory that psychological distress can have a significant adverse impact on success rates in vitro fertilization (IVF). In one of the studies, women with depressive symptoms were half as likely to conceive as women who were not depressed, and in the most recent study of 151 women scheduled to undergo an IVF cycle the chance of a live birth was 93 percent higher in women with the highest positive-affect score. Researchers have concluded that the success rates of high-tech infertility treatment can be adversely affected by psychological stress.

Mind/body treatment of infertility patients has shown, to both increase pregnancy rates as well as reducing psychological distress. In a recent study conducted at the Mind-body Medical Institute (MBMI), 185 women who had been trying to conceive for one to two years were randomized into either a 10 week mind/body group, a ten week support group, or a routine care control group. The birth rates during the one year follow up period were as follows: – Mind/body 55%, support 54%, and controls 20%. In addition the mind/body patients reported significantly greater psychological improvements than the support or control patients. Patients in the clinical Mind/Body Program for Infertility show benefits as well; in four published studies on several hundred women with an infertility duration of 3.5 years, 42 percent conceived within six months of completing the program and there were significant decreases in all measured psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety and anger.[12]

In our society it is commonly acknowledged that psychosomatic disharmony could be related to physical malfunctions in the body, but infertility has always been considered primarily a physiological issue. However the research over the last twenty years, has changed that supposition, and the majority of those studies support the belief that the mind-body connection is a vital part of the conception process.

In one study Dr. Peter Quinn a pioneer in the field, used hypnotherapy with a group of women between the ages of 26 and 42 who had durations of infertility lasting from 2-12 years. 65% of the women went on to have a successful full-term pregnancy. The positive results from these studies suggest that the sub-conscious mind may be an overlooked factor in the treatment of fertility.[13]

Stress can have a big effect on fertility. Stress hormones affect the hypothalamus and pituitary glands and reproductive organs. In women under stress, the reproductive hormone prolactin is over-produced and this can interfere with ovulation. The hypothalamus stops secreting gonadotrophin hormone, which in turn will affect the release of both the luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. As these hormones stimulate ovulation – fertility is affected.[14]Reproduction is one of our most delicately balanced biological systems. Psychological stress can affect our ability to get pregnant on multiple levels, including inhibition of the hypothalamus that helps regulate hormonal levels, or over activation of the hypothalamus which can change the pituitary and adrenal responses. Since the pituitary regulates both how much of a hormone is made and how much is released in the body, its alteration can have dramatic effects on the hormonal balance necessary for ovulation, fertilization, tubal functioning or even successful implantation of the egg once it reaches the womb. [15]

The neurochemical barrage that is associated with the “fight or flight” response in all human bodies, and which can be triggered by a threat to self-esteem or dignity, translates in the body as contraction of the muscles, an acceleration of the cardiovascular system, and the release of “emergency” hormones throughout the body. The body is on alarm, energy is directed toward the areas needed for actual “fight” or “flight” such as the arms and legs, and away from areas the brain considers less important. Unfortunately, the reproductive system is the most expendable. Once a chronic imbalance of the autonomic nervous system is created, only the regular and consistent practice of relaxation will facilitate the restoration of the parasympathetic nervous system. Hypnotherapy provides an effective means of establishing that restoration and enables women to establish the level of safety essential for reproduction to occur. [16]

I think that the above research shows that there is clinical proof that hypnotherapy can assist women with fertility issues. The link between mind and body cannot be overlooked when dealing with infertility and that hypnotherapy can be a really useful tool when helping clients with conception problems.











9] (Levitas E., Parmet A., Lunenfeld E., Burstein E., Friger M., Bentov Y., Potashnik G., Impact of hypnosis during embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer: a case-control study. Fertility and sterility, 85, 5, 8, (2006).)





[14] Natural Council for Hypnotherapy

[15] (Fertility Sterility, 1998, vol. 69)

[16] Lynsi Eastburn, a fertility hypnotist based in Colorado:


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