Possibly the freakiest IVF treatment ever

Jessica Ashley, Senior Editor

Put down the acupuncture needles, set aside the supplements. Forget your Reiki and fish oil and all other rituals to bring on the baby dust, pregnancy goddesses, and fertility fairies.

A new study says that watching a clown perform after embryos are implanted to women undergoing in-vitro fertilization could significantly impact her chances of getting pregnant.


Dr. Shevach Friedler led the research at a fertility center in Israel, tracking 219 women over the course of a year. Half of the participants viewed a clown show, complete with magic tricks and jokes, that was created especially for the study by the doctor. After implantation, those women watched the antics for 15 minutes, which Dr. Friedler believes helped lower their stress levels.

Whether this is the reason or not, the 36.4% of the women who saw the circus act became pregnant. Only 20.2% of the control group became pregnant. The results were recently published in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.

Dr. Friedler dreamed up the idea after reviewing research on how laughter aids stress reduction and wanted to provide relief to women at what he noted as a highly stressful moment in their treatment. It probably helps that he is a trained mime. "Medical clowning," he notes, is already standard practice in many children's hospitals and has been used in hospitals worldwide.

It seems like a harmless, albeit a bit strange, addendum to a medical treatment plan. However, since every little percentage point boost makes a difference when you are pursuing pregnancy, why not give old-fashioned comedy a try? (Is it wrong to wonder what shapes the balloons would be?)

And if laughter can help equal babies, I'm assuming the more, the better. I'd just like to request that, should I ever be in that recovery room, the creepy, uncomfortable clown moment is skipped and Louis CK or Chris Rock are sent in for a visit instead.

Would clowning have helped get you through the IVF process? Or is the whole Bozo-to-baby idea a little too much for you?



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