The NHS (2017) states that an estimated one in seven couples have difficulty conceiving, that is about 3.5 million people in the UK, so if you are having fertility problems you are not alone.
The link between mind and body processes is shown time and time again in research, and there is a growing body of evidence about the benefits that can be gained by therapies that assist mind and body towards its optimum state. Research shows that shows that women who learn a variety of skills designed to lower stress, improve lifestyle habits and decrease isolation experience, show significantly higher pregnancy rates than women who don't learn such skills. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine’s magazine ‘Fertility and Sterility’ published a paper that showed that women who participate in a mind body programme for stress reduction while undergoing IVF treatment had a significantly higher pregnancy rate than those who didn't (52% versus 20% ).
The aim of this program is to support you, to help you to feel strong and empowered and to assist your body to respond in the best way it can throughout your IVF journey. You will be guided emotionally and physically through each particular stage of this journey, finding new ways to cope with difficult decisions, to reduce anxiety about the process and outcomes and to savour the good things in life.
Undergoing fertility treatment is undoubtedly stressful and this in itself can lead to further difficulties. Dr Sarah Berga, is an internationally recognized expert in reproductive endocrinology, and reports that stress is the most commonly under appreciated cause of reproductive dysfunction. Throughout your journey this program aims to assist you to look at your life and to reduce any stress or anxiety, that it is possible to reduce, whilst enhancing the quality and amount of relaxation you enjoy. We will also look at how you can increase the activities in life that give you pleasure and to strengthen your positive qualities, such as, confidence, optimism, strength and resilience.
What Does it Involve
I use a variety of therapeutic approaches to assist you to reduce stress, release any deep seated fears or anxieties, reprogram any unhelpful beliefs or patterns of thinking, as well as encouraging a deeper relaxation in general and a more positive mindset. Often, we are not even aware that any of these unhelpful patterns are part of our lives. Therefore, during the sessions we will just talk about your life, what is going on for you right now, what feelings and thoughts are arising etc and utilise these everyday occurrences to identify and modify any unhelpful responses going on in your mind and body.
If you wish this process is enhanced by the use of hypnotherapy which encourages relaxation and change at a much deeper level. This relaxation process has numerous benefits, for example, a more relaxed patient has a more relaxed uterus and this indicates a positive effect on the embryo uterus interaction, and is a key factor in IVF success. A study in The Journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that the use of hypnosis during embryo transfer (ET) may significantly improve the IVF-ET cycle outcome in terms of increased implantation and clinical pregnancy rates. Furthermore, it seems that the patients' attitude to the treatment was more favourable.”
This process can also assist you towards a greater sense of control, a further factor that can assist in increasing success rates.
At different stages of the journey you will be given MP’S for you to listen to at home between sessions, to enhance the work done in the sessions.
The typical IVF cycle can vary slightly between each clinic but the usual pattern of treatment involves the following stages :IVF preparation, ovarian stimulation (10 to 14 days), egg and sperm collection; embryo transfer (ET); and the two week wait until the results.
The MP3s below are designed to enhance the effectiveness of each phase of IVF
One of the most valuable first steps you can take as you begin this IVF process is to prepare yourself physically and mentally for the journey you are embarking on. Dr, Ernest L. Rossi, specialises in the relationship between mind and physical body states. In his book’ The Psychobiology of Gene Expressions (2002), he suggests that human genes must be in a state of physical readiness for conception to take place, and that hypnotic type suggestions can activate the specific genes involved with fertility and conception.
This MP3 is designed to be used for self-hypnosis, to assist you to relax and prepare your mind and body for the journey ahead. It aims to assist you to access your own deep inner resources, such as, strength, confidence and decision making abilities as well as enhancing your skills for optimism, self calming and coping. These are factors that have been shown to be beneficial, such as, research carried out over 5 years at The university of California-San Diego, which found that women’s initial optimism about becoming pregnant was correlated with an increased number of eggs fertilized and an increase in the number of embryos transferred (American Society for Reproductive Medicine 2001)
Please enter the password to download the Mp3 IVF Journey
Ovarian stimulation and Egg and sperm collection
This Mp3 is designed to be used during ovarian stimulation. It aims to assist you to manage the administration of the drugs and any negative side effects, and visualize the production of healthy viable eggs, whist supporting you and your body’s response to the drugs.
You could use the daily practice of taking your drugs as an opportunity to remind yourself to relax and to use positive visualizations and affirmations.
Please enter the password to download the Mp3 IVF Preparation
Before Embryo Transfer (ET)
After the eggs have been collected and before transfer, is an ideal time to revisit your daily practice of keeping any stress or anxiety in check (using hand-outs and tips you will have been given) and enjoying activities that make you smile or laugh.
This Mp3 brings visualization techniques of increasing the blood flow to the uterus and preparing the womb to receive the embryo/s, you can even use this self hypnosis for its relaxation techniques and visualisations as you go for your embryo transfer if you wish.
The usefulness of hypnosis during embryo transfer has been shown in clinical research, for example, a report published in the Fertility and Sterility Journal stated “the use of hypnosis during ET may significantly improve the IVF embryo transfer cycle outcome in terms of increased implantation and clinical pregnancy rates. Furthermore, it seems that the patients attitude to the treatment was more favourable” (Levitas, et. al. 2006)
Please enter password to download the Before Embryo Transfer Mp3
After Embryo Transfer
This part of the journey has the potential to bring with it more emotional concerns, therefore, this MP3 aims to assist you to manage worry and minimise anxiety, it uses visualisations of welcoming and enhancing implantation and encourages rest, relaxation and a positive mental focus, whilst assisting you to utilise your own inner resources, such as a deep inner confidence and strength to cope with whatever life brings.
Please enter password to download the After Embryo Transfer Mp3
These Mp3's are best listened to with your eyes closed, whilst lying in a comfortable safe position. You can listen to them as you go to bed at night, it does not matter if you fall asleep whilst listening to them.
As well as listening to your Mp3's please continue with the exercises and handouts given during sessions.
At any time during your IVF journey you can continue to listen to the first “IVF journey” or the general "Hypnotherapy with Susan" MP3 you were given originally, for added self hypnosis.
If you are not already attending sessions with me and would like further information or a chat about this program, or anything else please contact me here.
- 1.Alice D. Domar, Kristen L. Rooney, Benjamin Wiegand, E. John Orav, Michael M. Alper, Brian M. Berger, Janetta Nikolovski. Impact of a group mind body intervention on pregnancy rates in IVF patients . Fertility and Sterility,2011; DOI: 10.1016 J.fertnstert.2011.03.046
- 2.Berga, S. Stress and Reprodution:A Tale of False Dichotomy? Endocrinology V.149, Issue 3, March, 2008
- 3.Eliahu Levitas, M.D., Aldo Parmet, M.D., Eitan Lunenfeld, M.D., Yacov Bentov, M.D., Eliezer Burnstein, M.D., Michael Friger, Ph.D., and Gad Potashnik, M.D. Impact of hypnosis during embryo transfer on the outcome of in vitro fertilisation embryo transfer: a case controlled study. Fertility and Sterility, 2006;85:1404-8