Last week at the Fertility Show, I walked past the stand for Fertilityastrology.com without stopping. Honestly, I didn't think it was worth my time to stop and inquire what it was about, when I had a few dozen other practitioners on my list to see during the day. I may have sold Nicola Smuts short. According the The Sunday Times, Smuts has just agreed to let Shady Grove Fertility, a chain of U.S. fertility clinics, test her claims that women are most fertile when the alignment of certain planets are similar to when they were born.
It's not for nothing that we refer to the circle of life and the miracle of life. The fact is, that with all the advances in medical science, we still don't understand everything about fertility and conception. A hefty percentage of cases of infertility and miscarriage are unexplained. There are plenty of instances of conception after years of both, which are also unexplained. I have come to believe, over time, that we can develop subconscious blockages to conception; born from pain, fear, trauma, stress and anger, among other negative sources. I have seen the positive impact on women who de-stress, resolve deep emotional issues and take on an attitude of openness to possibility. I have spoken to women who swear that they were helped to conceive by acupuncture, yoga, reflexology and massage, all of which are regularly refuted in medical trials. However, when conception follows, I do believe that these changes contributed to a woman's success; not that they are a substitute for medical treatment or wholly responsible. Thankfully, neither does Smuts. In The Sunday Times article, she admits that her clients' success could also be "down to coincidence, a placebo effect or the power of suggestion."
So, why did I initially react with skepticism to Smuts' astrological service? I don't have great belief in astrology under any circumstances. If I read the weekly astrological predictions in the back of a magazine, I treat it the same as I do the fortune in a Chinese cookie: I ignore what I don't like and circle what I do. I think of it as a bit of fun, but I don't take it seriously. I suppose that I am afraid that women who have spent years and fortunes to have a baby and come up empty-handed, may be desperate enough to put their hopes in the hands of someone who may be spinning them a story. I have nothing on which to base my belief or disbelief, so don't go by me.
It's true that our menstrual cycles tend to follow a 28-day pattern, like a lunar month. I just don't see the connection between where the planets were on the day I was born and my ability to conceive. I was born a month premature. Perhaps if I supplied Nicola Smuts with my birth details, she could help me understand if there was a connection between that and why I failed to conceive for several years, and why I conceived my two children when I did. Regardless, there are women who were labelled infertile who credit Smuts with predicting the conception of their babies. If it's good enough for them, who am I to knock it? I would like some more proof, before I can suspend my disbelief, so I am looking forward to reading the results of the Shady Grove test when it is made public.