Can Our Thoughts and Feelings Create Infertility?
Nearly seven million women in the U.S. have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility.1 That means that according to Western Medicine there is no physiological reason why these women can't conceive. The question then becomes: if the physical body is not the cause, could it be that the missing factor might be somewhere in the mental and emotional realms?
In our society it is commonly acknowledged that psychosomatic disharmonies could be related to physical malfunctions in the body. For example, someone under tremendous stress might experience symptoms such as high blood pressure, heart disease, migraine headaches, insomnia, or back spasms, but infertility has always been considered primarily a physiological issue. However, in the last two decades, several scientific studies have challenged 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 just one area of infertility research-the affects of distress on the success rates of In-Vitro (IVF) procedures-there have been fourteen studies. Ten of those studies found a very clear connection between distress and decreased pregnancy rates, and two more of those studies showed a trend or tendency toward decreased pregnancy rates.2
How can emotional issues, such as feelings of distress, create infertility? It is deep within the subconscious mind where all of the emotional issues and blocks related to infertility are stored. The subconscious mind holds our habits, beliefs, behavioral patterns, anxieties and fears that we have been accumulating since birth. Then, as adults, when we experience emotions like anxiety, sadness, fear or anger, we are responding to the cumulative effect of the information and programming that has collected throughout our entire lifetime.
Can this programming affect one's ability to conceive? According to the research, it appears that this is the case. Negative feelings and emotions within the subconscious can intensify and become all-consuming to the woman experiencing infertility. An experience from years past such as a feeling of failure can become so intense that it can control our present belief system without us even knowing it. These old emotions feed our current fears: "What if I fail again in this cycle?" "I feel like I'm letting everyone in the family down." "Why is this happening to me: is it something I did in my past?" "Maybe I don't deserve a child." "I'm so afraid of having another miscarriage." "What if I never have a child?" These fears and insecurities are often connected to old unhealed emotions and can only be processed by accessing the subconscious mind.
The quickest and most effective way to work directly with the subconscious mind is through the use hypnotherapy. In a relaxed hypnotic state where the client is always in control, it is easy to access and heal the programming within the subconscious mind. Since hypnosis works directly with the subconscious material, positive changes can take place in a short period of time.
There have been several scientific studies regarding the success rates for using hypnosis to promote fertility. The pioneer in this field, Dr. Peter Quinn, used hypnotherapy with a group of women between the ages of 26 and 42 who had durations of infertility lasting from two to 12 years. Sixty-five percent of the women went on to have successful full-term pregnancies.3 Dr. Elizabeth Muir, the director of a fertility clinic in London, practices hypnosis with all of her infertility clients. Her success rate is 45%, based on live births that take place within one year of completing the program at her clinic. That means that 45 % of these previously "infertile" women, typically ranging in age from 37-43, were able to not just conceive, but to give birth.4
The positive results from these studies suggest that the subconscious mind may be an overlooked factor in the treatment of infertility. Whether one is choosing assisted reproductive techniques (ART) or trying naturally, the mind/body connection may hold the key to success.
1. Lewis, Randine, Ph.D., The Infertility Cure, New York, New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2004. 3.
2. Domar, Alice D., Ph.D., "Infertility and Stress," www.bostonivf.com/mind_body_center/InfertilityandStress.pdf, 1-5.
3. Philip D.R. Quinn & Michael Pawson MB BS FRCOG, "Psychosomatic Infertility," European Journal of Clinical Hypnosis Volume No4, July 1994, 1.
4. Manson, Louise, "Baby talk" Sunday Times, July 19, 1998.