Dealing with infertility: a hormonal problem
For men, the main issue in fertility stems from low testosterone, luteinizing hormone (LH) and luteinizing-hormone-releasing hormone (LHRH) levels, resulting in smaller testes and less functional sperm.
Whether a consequence of subtle psychological stressors or physical ones brought about by working too hard or exercising too much, the result is always the same: decreased reproductive capability.
The stress response shuts down our secretion of these key hormones, and the corresponding release of prolactin also inhibits the pituitary gland’s responsiveness to LHRH. A stress-induced release of steroid hormones called glucocorticoids also inhibits the sensitivity of the testes to LH, and so both the quantity and receptivity of these critical hormones become compromised.
Female reproductive capability is a little more complex. The vast majority of cases are intimately related to stress-related hormonal imbalance, in much the same way as males, with a few added twists.
The desensitising effects of prolactin release on the pituitary gland inhibit the quantity and efficacy of LHRH that is released. And the reason why this LHRH is so important is because it is a hormone-releasing hormone which triggers the pituitary gland to release LH and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
Both of these are crucial to ovulation and the release of other key hormones from the ovaries such as oestrogens. The rush of glucocorticoids that arise under stress arousal also affects the sensitivity of the ovaries to LH, compounding the problem further.
Stress also inhibits progesterone, which disrupts the maturation of the uterine walls, and once again stress-induced prolactin release acts as a blocking agent to progesterone activity.
Thus, even if there is enough hormonal activity to initiate ovulation, and even if the egg becomes fertilised, it is much less likely to implant due to immature uterine wall development brought about by insufficient progesterone.
It is these very same prolactins, which, when stimulated during breastfeeding, inhibit the reproductive cycle so as to not overtax Mummy with simultaneous nursing and further pregnancy, a very helpful evolutionary trait. But if you wish to conceive, its presence will be far from helpful.
I went and learned with Will last year and had a very positive experience and have subsequently been recommending the course to friends. I had to have an operation soon after and I found the meditation really helped with the anxiety prior to it, and the recovery afterwards. I was extremely happy to get pregnant in the following couple of weeks (after 10 months of trying). It seems the meditation helped my body get back to where it needed to be. I am truly delighted with the results!
Rosie, Mother, Brighton
How can Vedic meditation help with infertility?
If you can find a stress management tool that not only diminishes your stress responsivity but also re-programmes your hormonal production to its most natural settings by bringing all systems into balance, then the barriers to conception will be significantly reduced.
That’s exactly what Vedic meditation provides. Unlike other infertility treatment options, it is a completely natural way of boosting fertility. Rather than being a stressful chore, it is actually a really enjoyable oasis of space and calm in our day.
Whether done as a complement to treatment, or as an alternative, meditation will significantly increase the probabilities of success, and will likely make the whole process a lot smoother and less traumatic.
The process of IVF is often quite a harrowing experience. We are aware of the stressful physical and emotional toll that IVF takes and it is not surprising that depressive symptoms so often go hand in hand with this process.
Unfortunately, the probabilities are often against us from the start. Dealing with infertility brings its own stresses, and the challenging nature of the IVF process almost certainly plays a part in the low success rates.
Anything stressful is going to inhibit our reproductive functioning further. If our biology won’t permit it, then that is one thing, but if it is merely a case of a poorly functioning reproductive system, then there is a good chance meditation can make the difference.
A regular daily practice also speeds up the chances of success, as opposed to a more sporadic approach, which usually takes longer to get our reproductive stars in alignment.
And when we do finally fall pregnant, meditation is hugely supportive to both baby and parents.