Resort Reviews Section Link spacer Why Upscale Travel? Section Link spacer Tips and Hints Section Link spacer Romance Section Link spacer Best Restaurants

Making Babies: Romantic Potential & Optimizing Chances for Conception does not claim any medical expertise in regards to the issues of fertility, let us make that clear from the get-go! However, much of our criteria involved in determining the most romantic destinations arose from a demand from readers who wrote to us regarding fertility issues. Several couples sought resorts that might increase their chances of--yes--conceiving and alleviate various infertility issues. Thus, some research in this area on our part was initiated, and indeed we did find much support for the idea that a good resort could solve a bevy of infertility problems! What a pleasant surprise for many couples.

Here are some of our findings: Perhaps it is due to the increased levels of stress and tension inherent in an increasingly competitive and oversaturated economy that more and more couples are experiencing difficulty conceiving children. Research conducted by the American Psychological Association indicates that at least four in ten of all adults suffer from adverse health problems as a result of stress. And as many as nine out of ten of all doctor visitations are for stress-related complaints. Such emotional strain has become a proven deterrent to conceiving. As Robert Barbieri, Alice Domar, and Kevin Loughlin put it, "Today...we recognize that infertility is one of the most stressful events in a person's life, that the relationship between emotions and infertility is very real and very complex, and that stress-and the accompanying feelings of anxiety and depression-contribute to some cases of infertility"(70).

Many people either overlook or disbelieve that intangibles such as "stress" or "anxiety" can produce such dramatic biological effects in our lives; and yet, whether we choose to believe it or not, tension will continue to insidiously weave its way into the very fabric of our physiological selves unless we take measures to stop it. Let us consider how anxiety damages both genders' ability to produce children. For men, emotional tension, according to Niravi B. Payne and Brenda Lane Richardson, can lower testosterone levels and disrupt sperm production. The mind responds to emotional tension by slowing down oxygen and blood fed to all but the vital organs such as the heart and brain, and therefore, the deprived components of the body begin to suffer. It is with much blushing that we report our finding that the release of the male hormone testosterone, which instigates sperm production, is governed by the hypothalamus-pituitary control center, which is extremely sensitive to emotional tension. Payne and Richardson affirm that consequently, studies have linked heightened anxiety with low sperm counts (213).

For women, stress can adversely affect their hormones and menstrual cycles, causing irregular ovulation and sometimes causing the fallopian tubes to spasm (Bruce and Thatcher 270). Dr. Lorraine Bonner explains that women frequently stop menstruating when they are in "extreme tension-provoking situations," such as for instance when they are competing for considerable monetary awards or for medals (Payne and Richardson 37). Bonner explains that this is because "the mind-body knows that in situations of extreme tension, sex organs are our most expendable parts. The mind-body knows that when times are tough, that is not the time to make a baby. Our mind-body needs to have a minimal level of safety before reproduction can happen"(qtd. in Payne and Richardson 37).

What happens when couples wishing to have children confront some of these obstacles? Doctors and other medical professionals have characterized this predicament as no less than traumatic for both men and women. Debra Fulghun Bruce and Samuel Thatcher aver, "Infertility is an extremely distressing life crisis...The long-term inability to conceive a child can evoke significant feelings of loss. In fact, experts agree that few life experiences rank as high on stress scales as infertility. Coping with the multitude of medical decisions, and the uncertainties that infertility brings can create great emotional upheaval, not to mention the strain on your family's finances" (268). In fact, women undergoing infertility treatment may experience more depression than women dealing with life-threatening illnesses including cancer, and the distress of infertility is considered comparable with the sadness associated with the death of a close family member (Bruce and Thatcher 271). Some studies also reveal infertile women having depression scores much like women who suffer from heart disease or who are HIV-positive (Barbieri, Domar, and Loughlin 70).

A man is similarly affected when his attempts to impregnate his partner appear unsuccessful. Payne and Richardson assert that when actor Tom Cruise threatened to sue a German magazine for running an article suggesting he was "infertile," he sent a distinct message to the public: "He and millions of other people believe that anything loosely connected to a man's sexual potency, including sperm production, is tied to his image of manliness and power. Throughout the world, people measure manhood according to whether or not men are capable of procreating, protecting, and providing for their families" (210).

This duress involved in delayed conception, or what might be perceived as infertility, is attributable, according to Barbieri, Domar, and Loughlin, to the fact that the urge to reproduce "is one of the strongest in the animal kingdom" . They propound, "The reproducing instinct is stronger than the instinct to many species, the male will die for the chance to mate and females will die to protect their young. It should come as no surprise that infertile individuals, particularly women, experience acute distress when they fear they may not have the family they've always wanted and expected to have" (71).

As a result, surrogacy, fertility drugs, and various forms of assisted conception are increasingly becoming mainstream practices. Many infertility treatments are not only very costly with relatively minimal chances of success, but they can also be exhausting and humiliating for those undergoing them. For instance, intracytoplasmic sperm injection is the procedure by which the man's sperm is injected into the woman's egg. The procedure costs approximately eleven thousand dollars, it requires the man to masturbate on demand into a cup, and reportedly has only a 24 percent success rate (Payne and Richardson 214). Gonadotropin hormones, prescribed for stimulating egg development, can cost two thousand dollars for each treatment cycle (Barbieri, Domar, and Loughlin 79). If you live in one of the 43 states in which infertility treatments are not covered by insurance companies, the financial impact of regular treatments can be devastating.

Before spending thousands of dollars on fertility treatments, wouldn't you rather try a few nights at a breathtaking resort, pampering yourself with their array of amenities and allowing your romantic inclinations to reach fruition? It is notable that a host of non-invasive treatments exist specifically for infertility and the stress associated with it. For instance, Bruce and Thatcher advocate such mind-body treatments as aromatherapy, autogenics, deep abdominal breathing, laughter therapy, meditation, music therapy, dance therapy, art therapy, drama therapy, biofeedback, hypnotherapy, light therapy, visualization, and progressive muscle relaxation to boost the chances of conception. Many of these treatments are offered at resort spas in the form of classes or treatments. Training in deep abdominal breathing, muscle therapy, dance, meditation, visualization, hypnotherapy, and progressive muscle relaxation is often available on a group or individual basis. Aromatherapy can often be incorporated upon request in many of the body treatments, and "laughter therapy" can certainly be achieved at resort spas.

Alternatively, there is research then that would support that the tangible act of placing oneself into an idyllic scenario such as a beautiful resort will have a dramatically successful outcome. If becoming pregnant has not come as easily for you and your partner as you had hoped, before resigning to expensive medical procedures, it might be worth a try to visit some of the amazing resorts listed here during the most advantageous times of the month for conception. Each destination is so soothing and so conducive to romance, you might potentially meet your objective naturally, and with wonderful memories to take with you.

The hotels spotlighted here remove you so completely from the ordinary realm that, while there, your body and mind will actually slow down into a more reposed state-but you must allow this to happen. Our brain waves along with the muscles throughout our bodies respond powerfully to stress, especially as it accumulates day after day with no release. Therefore, do not take work along with you! No iphones, ipads, cell phones, pagers, laptops, or fax machines--or this process will not work. Instead, it makes sense that placing yourself in a completely calming environment will allow you to feel more relaxed as your tensions melt away. You will feel yourself moving into a more jubilant emotional and physical phase. Conception should not be a far jump from this point.

Of course, this method is not a panacea for all fertility problems, but then again, neither are the expensive fertility treatments available today. If a couple is willing to spend eleven thousand dollars for the aforementioned intracytoplasmic sperm injection that offers a less than a one-in-four chance of success, then it would seem that it could not hurt them to also give the resort theory a good try! Here's hoping for a successful resort visit!

Barbieri, Robert, Alice Domar, and Kevin Loughlin. Six Steps to Increased Fertility. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000.
Bruce, Fulghun Debra and Samuel Thatcher. Making a Baby: Everything You Need to Know to Get Pregnant. New York: Ballantine Books, 2000.
Payne, Niravi B. and Brenda Lane Richardson. The Language of Fertility: A Revolutionary Mind-Body Program for Conscious Conception. New York: Harmony Books, 1997.