Undergoing in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments? A little clowning around could have you laughing all the way to IVF success, according to a study from Israel that found women who were entertained by clowns (yes, clowns) right after IVF treatments were more likely to become pregnant. Published January 3, 2011, in online edition of the journal Fertility and Sterility, the one-year-long study tracked 219 women undergoing IVF. Half of them were treated to a "medical clowning encounter" after just after embryo transfer. During recovery, each woman had a 15-minute visit from a clown, who performed a specific routine created by the study's lead author (a doctor and former mime).
Sound weird? Well, according to researchers, it worked. Overall, 36 percent of women visited by a clown became pregnant compared to 20 percent of women who'd had a comedy-free recovery after the transfer procedure.
Is laughter the best medicine? That's what researchers think, speculating that laughter relieves stress and that lower stress levels, in turn, may boost chances for IVF success. Much research is needed before a clear connection is made, but this is one experimental remedy that may just be OK to try yourself. If your favorite clown is unavailable, bring along a portable DVD player and plug into your favorite funny movie after IVF treatment.