Emotional stress can lower the level of fertility. For example, stress in a woman can affect the hormones being released from the brain's pituitary gland, interrupting ovulation (the release of mature eggs). If the stress is combined with another "fertility-lowering" condition, such as low sperm count or partially blocked fallopian tubes, then it can lead to infertility.
Several therapies can reduce stress and encourage relaxation, including:
- guided imagery
- creative visualization
- support groups
One proof that mind/body medicine is an effective part of infertility treatment is a University of Massachusetts study that showed that infertile couples who joined support groups were more than twice as likely to conceive children as couples who didn't participate in any groups.
Several times a day, set aside 15 to 30 minutes for relaxation exercises, followed by guided imagery exercises related to the reproductive system. Have someone else read an imagery script to you, or have it on tape nearby so you can play it right after finishing the exercises. Here's an excerpt of an imagery script:
On the stalk, imagine delicate buds swelling with color and energy and warmth, slowly opening, unfolding under nature's direction. Focus on the gentle wind carrying grains of pollen. Some grains float to the blossoming flower. Watch the blossom welcome the pollen, holding it and closing on it.