Would-be Kiwi mothers are turning to hypnosis therapy in a bid to get pregnant.
Hypnotherapist Tracey Gordon runs a 12-week programme, costing $1440, designed to combat stress and limit thoughts and beliefs that can affect fertility and conception.
Ms Gordon claims she has helped women become pregnant using a technique called FertilityByHypnosis, in conjunction with other medical care. She believes her clients double their chances of getting pregnant.
Ms Gordon, who has offered the service since 2011, believes fertility-related issues have been steadily rising.
She told the Herald there were many factors that reduced the chance of getting pregnant, whether naturally or with fertility treatment.
"I've had successes with clients going through natural birth, through IVF and through emotional issues to achieve their goal of becoming a parent," she said.
"Stress and lack of confidence tend to be the top culprits that must be addressed when working with clients for fertility.
"Many couples have lost faith in the natural process of conception and maintain a strong conviction in the need for medical assistance.
"With more and more women in high-stress jobs it's really no wonder that conception doesn't always occur immediately and as hypnotherapists it's no mystery to us what trying to get pregnant denotes."
But Dr Andrew Murray, medical director of Fertility Associates in Wellington, says he is not aware of any treatment involving hypnosis that can double a woman's chances of falling pregnant.
He encourages women to seek professional medical advice if they are having trouble conceiving.
"I certainly agree dealing with fertility and going through fertility treatment can be stressful and anything that can be done to help and manage that stress should be encouraged," he said. "However, I am not aware of any treatment that can 'double your chances' of IVF being successful; if there was we would be using it.
"I think it's great that there are other options and we are happy to work alongside other people but we recommend seeking expert medical help," Dr Murray said.
Many couples have lost faith in the natural process of conception.
Within the 12 weeks, Ms Gordon aims to understand the client's history and get to the root of the cause of their worry and fear.
"They may feel like they will not be able to cope with the responsibilities of being a parent and therefore create a negative association with being pregnant causing stress and anxiety on their body," she said.
"Or they think they are too old to be a mum, even fearing the actual birth itself."
She uses weekly hypnosis and her clients are given a CD to use at home. The HypnoFertility programme was created and designed by American Lynsi Eastburn in 2003.
Ms Gordon trained in Australia with 10 other Kiwi hypnotherapists who offer the same service across New Zealand. "Someone that is desperate will go to great lengths to become pregnant and would have seen everyone else first, [doctors, acupuncture] due to the misconceptions about hypnosis," Ms Gordon said.
Studies conducted by Alice Domar, PhD, director of the Beth Israel behavioural medicine programme for infertility in Boston, support Dr Elizabeth Muir's theory that unresolved issues about having a baby can be resolved with counselling and hypnotherapy.
In the first study, published in 1999 in the Journal of the American Medical Women's Association, 42 per cent of 132 infertile women in the programme conceived within six months of completing it. In the second study, published in 2000 in the journal Fertility and Sterility, 55 per cent of the previously infertile women who met regularly in a mind/body programme conceived.
That compares with 20 per cent of the control group who used no mind/body techniques and who did not attend meetings.