Can Laughter Help You Get Pregnant?

By Author January 30, 2011 Comments

In a study of 219 women undergoing IVF, Israeli researchers found the odds of success were greater among women who were entertained by a professional “medical clown” right after they had the embryos implanted in the womb.

Overall, 36 percent became pregnant, versus 20 percent of women who’d had a comedy-free recovery after embryo implantation.

The findings appear in the journal Fertility and Sterility, and expand on research the Israeli group had presented earlier at a conference.

Dr. Shevach Friedler, who led the work, said he got the idea for the study after reading about the potential physiological effects of laughter as a “natural anti-stress mechanism.”

“Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are exceptionally stressed,” said Friedler, who is based at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zrifin.

“So I thought that this intervention could be beneficial for them at the crucial moments after embryo transfer,” Friedler told Reuters Health in an email.

To test the idea, Friedler’s team had a medical clown visit their fertility clinic periodically over one year. Of the 219 women in the study, half underwent embryo implantation on a day the clown was at the clinic.

During recovery from the procedure, each woman had a 15-minute visit from the clown, who performed a specific routine created by Friedler — who has studied movement and mime — and a colleague.

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Photo by foxtongue

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