HYPNOTHERAPY can help women overcome fertility problems and conceive, a visiting American therapist claims.

Lynsi Eastburn, the founder of the “hypnofertility” method, believes the subconscious mind – and not a medical problem – is the biggest roadblock to conception in many cases.

About one in five couples find it difficult to get pregnant and in 10 per cent of those cases, no cause is found.

Ms Eastburn said “unexplained” infertility was the mind blocking the body’s ability to conceive because of subconscious fears about childbirth or parenting, or unresolved issues about a previous abortion or sexual abuse.

She said she had helped hundreds of women in the US and UK conceive by removing these blocks and introducing positive thoughts using hypnosis. One client was aged 47.

“I have had many women get pregnant naturally when they were told it was medically impossible,” she said.

Ms Eastburn will arrive in Sydney next week to share her method with local practitioners and launch her new book, It’s Conceivable!

But some experts warn against alternative therapies such as hypnosis.

Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists’ women’s health committee chairman Edward Weaver said only treatments that had been scientifically tested using randomised clinical trials could be recommended.

He feared women might postpone medical treatment such as IVF while they tried alternative therapies, only to find they had wasted precious time.

And he agreed that while stress could be an element in fertility problems – leading women to seek out alternatives such as hypnosis – it was the case that “if you go to a tropical island and relax and have sex frequently you’re also likely to get pregnant”.

Ms Eastburn said too many couples lose faith in the natural conception process and rely too heavily on medical intervention.

“As new mothers, my clients would choose their babies over a clinically proven scientific study any day,” she said.

Woollahra hypnotherapist Francesca Naish, who advises on natural conception methods, said when the body is stressed or feels at risk, its response is to shut down the reproductive system.

Written by Louise Hall.

This article originally appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald on April 8, 2007.

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