“Medical Clowns” Improve Fertility Chances for Women Receiving IVF Treatments

By Emily Murray

Every once in a while, I read a headline that makes me stop and think, “wait, what?” There are two ideas that seem hard for me to fathom in a recent TIME article – the fact that there are actually “medical clowns,” and that their influence could have any impact on fertility issues. But yet, both are true according to a study of nearly 300 Israeli women. Can the idea that “laughter is the best medicine,” even hold true when we are talking about chances of pregnancy?

The women were undergoing IVF or in-vitro-fertilization methods to hopefully overcome to their difficulties conceiving and when visited by a medical clown for 15 minutes immediately following the implantation of the embryo, the chance or maintaining the pregnancy raised from 20% to 36%. Once all the different variables (like age and duration of infertility) were accounted for, the study, which was published in Fertility and Sterility, stated that the women visited by the clown were in fact 2.67 times more likely to become pregnant. While this number may seem relatively low, any increase in the likelihood of conception is a win for couples who have been struggling to start a family.

While this idea seems completely preposterous at first, the results of the study strangely make sense.

Stress can have an impact on a woman’s fertility and the half hour after the IVF takes place is undoubtedly a stressful time. This 30 minute wait time is standard practice so that the woman is still and increases the chances of the pregnancy by reducing her movement. You can only imagine the thoughts that must be racing through her head as she hopes that the procedure will work. A medical clown is used to make patients laugh and reduce their stress levels. This release of stress may very well have a direct impact on the ability of the body to hold on to the pregnancy.

As stated in the TIME article, it is believed that even more than that, when a woman is relaxed after the embryo is inserted into the womb, it creates a more ideal environment for the embryo to “settle in.” While this sounds like an amazingly fun and cheap “treatment” of sorts, many professionals feel that the study should be repeated again before the results are immediately accepted in the medical world.

Whatever the case, it can’t hurt to be amused and relaxed during a stressful time in your life right? And if it has even the slightest chance that it could help a couple begin their family, I have a feeling many people may start trying out this simple trick – that is…unless they have a fear of clowns!

What do you think?