Learn how the mental and emotional aspects play an important role in fertility
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Melanie Raposo: Infertility once seem solely as a medical condition can now be treated with the help of Psychotherapy. I met up with Ariel Garten, Psychotherapist at the Forces of Nature Clinic in Toronto, who discussed with us the various psychological methods used that it can successfully help promote fertility. Many couples have been dealing with Infertility, focus primarily on the biological and physical conditions of it, but how important is it to address the mental and emotional aspects of trying to get pregnant? Ariel Garten: Extremely important, people don't necessarily recognize how intimately tied our biology and our psychology is. Historically a fertility was seen as a psychological problem, oh, the woman is nervous, she can't get pregnant, oh she doesn't deserve it, she doesn't want it, and then the family would put pressure on her like, have more children, have more children, it will only exacerbate the situation. Medical technology then took this on as an medical issue and now the pendulum is beginning to swing back the other way. At IVF clinics, they have psychologists and psychotherapists on staff, the recognition that fertility is a psychological issue, it's very large right now. Melanie Raposo: And like the cause of many other in their lives, stress can be a contributing factor to Infertility. Ariel Garten: From a scientific standpoint, what's going on is that, when we are stressed, we inhibit something called our hypothalamic adrenal pituitary system and that is the system that's responsible for releasing fertility stimulating hormones like FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), estrogen, progesterone and when we increase our stress in our cortisol levels, we screw with balances of our hormonal system. So our ability to get pregnant is actually physically decreased. Melanie Raposo: An infertility study showed that women who are unable to conceive underwent just two weeks of psychotherapy treatments and greatly increased their fertility. Ariel Garten: So what we do is a mixture of breathing technique, cognitive-behavioral therapy which is a kind of therapy that helps you identify the thoughts that are holding you back and the thoughts that are causing you fear and stress, such as it's my fault, and replace them with more effective thoughts like, I'm doing what I can to have a baby and that'll come in time. So, doing that greatly decreases the anxiety associated with the entire process. We would also do some meditation techniques, we would look into your past, at things that have caused patterns of behavior that cause stress in your life and we would look at other factors like your job, family members, outside things that are causing you pressure that we can cognitively restructure so that you don't feel the bite of them. Melanie Raposo: Women aren't the only ones who go through psychological stresses when trying to get pregnant. Men can also experience similar issues that can prevent their ability to conceive. Ariel Garten: I have dealt with men with premature ejaculation, men who have difficulty maintaining erection and been able to get over many of their issues in order for them to have healthy sex lives and go on to be fathers. Melanie Raposo: Great! Ariel Garten: And in many cases it's also dealing with the man's image of himself as a father or his desire to have children. Melanie Raposo: Ariel says that there are significant benefits to using Psychotherapy to help with infertility problems versus medical intervention. Ariel Garten: When you go through medical infertility, you have an egg implanted up in you in a painful and emotionally traumatic process and you hope it only happens once. When you go through psychological fertility treatment, you go through a gentle process or you learn techniques that are going to last your lifetime. Melanie Raposo: To find out, if psychotherapy is right for you in dealing with your infertility visit ThePreganacyShow.com.