Hypnosis can be used on its own to relax the body and improve your chances of getting pregnant, but it can also help reduce the stress that comes with conventional medical treatments, explains Helen Adrienne, a practitioner of hypnosis and psychotherapy in New York City. (See helenadrienne.com for more information.) At least one recent study supports the practice: A May 2006 report in Fertility and Sterility showed nearly double the rate of pregnancy via frozen-egg transfer procedures in a group of Israeli women who were treated with hypnotic intervention versus those in a control group.
Adrienne has also seen the combination work in her practice with her clients including Stacie Lorraine, 33, a public school teacher in New York City. Lorraine first started trying to conceive at age 31, but was diagnosed with "unexplained infertility" about a year later. She and her husband decided to sign up for four rounds of intrauterine insemination. "After the second round, I started to feel depressed about the whole situation. I figured there had to be something I could do about it," says Lorraine. She turned to an online Web group for fertility support, resolve.org, where she discovered Adrienne. Lorraine was immediately attracted to the notion that a strong mind-body connection could help.
Lorraine started seeing Adrienne for 45-minute hypnosis and guided imagery sessions every other week. "I visualized an ocean setting where I was lying on a cushy raft in the middle of the ocean," says Lorraine. About once a month, Adrienne would make recordings for Lorraine to listen to on her iPod. "We did one tape for preparing to take the medication and how it would be helpful for my body, one for the egg retrieval, and so on." In the month leading up to a frozen-embryo transfer, Adrienne had Lorraine focus on keeping the uterus still. "I could feel my uterus when I was thinking that much about it," Lorraine recalls. About eight months into her hypnotherapy sessions, she became pregnant with twins. "The combination of the two treatments sealed the deal," she says.