Being entertained by a clown right after in vitro fertilization could be baby-making gold, according to a study in the medical journal Fertility and Sterility.
The one-year-long study, by doctors at the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zrifin, Israel, involved 219 women. Half of them were treated to a “medical clowning encounter” after having just undergone IVF.
Results showed that 36 percent of women who were treated to a 20-minute routine of jokes, magic tricks and other comedic acts after invitro became pregnant. In contrast, only 20 percent of the women in the group that wasn’t exposed to the routine got pregnant, according to the study.
The findings expand on research done by the study’s principal author, Dr. Shevach Friedler, a graduate of the Jacques Lecoq school of mime and theatre in Paris, France. "My background is in clowning and movement," he told Nature.com in a 2006 interview. "I'm also a physician who works in IVF. I thought we could combine the two," he was quoted as saying.
The study holds promise for women seeking to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization and also identifies comedy as a key de-stressor during what could be, to patients, a harrowing medical procedure, Friedler told Reuters.
"Patients suffering from infertility undergoing IVF are exceptionally stressed. So I thought that this intervention could be beneficial for them at the crucial moments after embryo transfer," he is quoted as saying.
While medical clowns have usually been associated with pediatric care, their use with adult patients is on the rise, according to the website, Aheart4clowning.
The Israeli study concludes that clowning in conjunction with IVF may buoy pregnancy rates and needs further analysis.