Hypnosis and IVF are not usually associated together. However, if Israeli professor Eliahu Levitas has his way, women undergoing IVF will all have the benefit of hypnosis as his research shows how it can significantly increase IVF success rate.
According to Levitas’s team from Soroka Hospital in Beersheva, hypnosis can double the IVF success rate. Levitas’s study of 185 women found that 28% of women in the group who were hypnotised became pregnant, compared with 14% of those who were not.
“We gave hypnosis to a group of our patients during the most stressful part of IVF treatment – the transferring of embryos into the uterus. It’s a crucial point of the treatment, and the point in which the embryos comes in contact with the womb of the woman. It all builds up to that special moment, which is not very painful but is very stressful” said Prof. Levitas.
According to Levitas, that stress can cause complications during the transfer that can put the procedure at risk.
“Studies have been done before which claim that during this short period, there’s so much stress in the woman’s body that it may induce contractions, albeit tiny ones, which may interrupt or even expel the embryos from the uterus at the same moment we’re introducing them,” he said.
“Other techniques have been employed like relaxants and tranquillisers, but nothing has worked well. On the other hand, hypnosis has been known for many years for producing central relaxation, and has even been used before surgical interventions to calm patients,” said Levitas
The results showed that the hypnotised women resulted in double the IVF success rate (amount of pregnancies) compared to those that weren’t hypnotised.
“Performing embryo transfer under hypnosis may significantly contribute to an increased clinical pregnancy rate” Prof Eliahu Levitas
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