Israeli doctors have turned to a novel method to boost success rates of fertility treatments —clowning around.
Although funny men with red noses and big feet are popular on children’s wards in hospitals they are rarely, if ever, seen entertaining women trying to get pregnant.
But after introducing clown therapy to patients having in-vitro fertilization, doctors at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zerifin, Israel, said the conception rate rose from 20 to 35 percent.
“To our surprise we found a significant difference between the women who were exposed to clowning,” said Dr. Shevach Friedler, a trained mime artist and fertility doctor at the center.
Thirty-three of the 93 women entertained for 10-15 minutes by the professional clown conceived, compared to 18 patients among the same number who had not had a good dose of humor.
The scientists, who submitted their research to the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology meeting, had set out to see if humor could reduce the stress and anxiety of the IVF treatment, particularly after the embryo had been transferred to the woman’s womb.
A smile, a few jokes and magic tricks was enough to get them to laugh, and in some cases, conceive.