Hypnosis for Fertility Research
The positive impact of mind/body interventions on IVF
A study looked at 100 women, under 40, starting IVF treatment. All had normal hormone levels and none had participated in mind/body exercised previously. Two groups were selected. The first group participated in a stress reducing programme and the control group, didn’t receive anything.
After the first IVF cycle there were no differences in the pregnancy rates between the two groups. However, only half of the group had begun the sessions but by the second IVF cycle the majority had completed at least five sessions.
Those who participated in the mind/body programme such as self hypnosis had a significantly higher pregnancy rate. 52% compared to 20% of the control group. The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association 1999 and The Journal of Fertility and Sterility 2000.
Effect of Stress on Fertility & Conception
Stress can affect your ability to get pregnant on multiple levels. Hormones are one of the areas which are hugely impacted via a part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
The hypothalamus controls the pituitary and adrenal responses, which produce and regulate the level of stress hormones in your body. The pituitary regulates both how much of a hormone is made and how much is released in the body. Changes to it’s response can have dramatic affect on the cocktail of hormones including FSH and LH. These are key for conception, necessary for ovulation, fertilisation, fallopian tube functioning and implantation of the egg.
Stress and Egg Production
A study by the University of California in 2005 showed women who were stressed produced 20% less eggs during a cycle than women who were not experiencing symptoms of stress.
With each of the cycles, the fertilisation rates dropped by more than 20% with the same women who were experiencing stress in their lives.
Adrenalin And Fertility
A study in 2011 by Oxford University looked into how couples trying to get pregnant would benefit from using relaxation techniques while trying to get pregnant.
In the study, 274 women took part in the program where their salvia was tested throughout their cycles. Cortisol and adrenalin levels were tested. It was found that the top 25% of women with higher levels of adrenalin had a 12% reduction in their chances of conceiving. There was no difference with higher rates of cortisol.
Stress And Stopping IVF
In 2004 Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden carried out a study looking at the reasons why couples stop fertility treatment. The number one reason to stop fertility treatment, 26%, was the psychological stress of infertility and the IVF process. The other reasons were a poor prognosis, 25%, spontaneous pregnancy in 19%, physical burden in 6%, serious disease in 2%, and other reasons in 7%.
In this study the IVF treatment was subsidised so this does not account for the financial burden often experienced in the UK.
Fertility Success using Visualisation
Study 1: Dr. Peter Quinn, a pioneer in the field of fertility, used hypnotherapy with a group of women between the ages of 26 and 42. They had a duration of infertility lasting from 2-12 years.
65% of the women went on to have a successful full-term pregnancy after hypnotherapy. European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 1994.
Study 2: Hypnosis for Fertility based on imagery and relaxation was successful in facilitating pregnancy.
The treatment resulted in beneficial modification of attitude, optimism, and mind-body interaction. The American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis.
Hypnosis for IVF Transfer Doubles Success Rate
The study was conducted by Professor Eliahu Levitas and his team at Soroka Hospital in Beersheva. It was to determine if hypnosis could improve the success of the embryo transfer stage of IVF.
The study found that 28% of women in the hypnotised group became pregnant, compared with 14% of those who were not. Hypnosis for fertility therefore doubled the success of IVF treatments where embryo transfer was performed under hypnosis.
Dr. Levitas suggested that hypnosis helped a
woman’s uterus to remain relaxed, allowing the embryo to implant more easily.
Levitas, E. 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, Issue 5, (2006), 1404–1408)
From Depression to Viable Pregnancy
Women with depression, when treated showed a 60% viable pregnancy rate within six months, contrasting with 24% when depression went untreated. Journal of American Medical Women’s
Association, 1999, vol. 54.
Anxiety And Depression And Fertility
A 1993 study, led by one of the worlds leading experts on women’s health and how our thoughts and emotions can impact our health, Alice D. Domar PhD, revealed just how distressing infertility can be.
The study demonstrated that the levels of anxiety and depression in women with infertility equaled those of women with conditions such as cancer, hypertension and heart disease - an no-one tells them just to relax! The results for women with infertility were only slightly lower than those of women with AIDS and Chronic Pain.
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