Following from the somewhat common sense idea that women who were less stressed during in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer had better outcomes, the journal Fertility and Sterility published a study out of Israel that claims “medical clowning” improved pregnancy rates compared to a group not exposed to a clown on the day of implantation.
From the abstract:
This experimental prospective quasi-randomized study examining the impact of a medical clowning encounter after ET after IVF found that the pregnancy rate in the intervention group was 36.4%, compared with 20.2% in the control group (adjusted odds ratio, 2.67; 95% confidence interval, 1.36–5.24). Medical clowning as an adjunct to IVF-ET may have a beneficial effect on pregnancy rates and deserves further investigation.
In the methods section the researchers describe the study design. For the intervention group (n=110) a “professional medical clown” visited the patient immediately after the procedure for about 15 minutes and performed the same routine including “jokes, tricks, and magic” while dressed as a chef.
While the study itself only uses one routine, presumably similar effects could be experienced by a patient bringing in a personal media device and watching something they know will amuse them right after their own procedure. Hopefully, no need to bring your own clown if the office won’t provide one for you.
This looks like a serious study, even though it uses clowns. Previous studies testing the stress reduction idea used a more expensive and involved training program. This study could show that all that is needed is a 15 minute visit from someone who makes the patient laugh during what is probably a very stressful and expensive moment in a hopeful mother’s experience.
Here’s video of the clown used in the study, Shlomi Algussi:
Abstract: The effect of medical clowningnext term on pregnancy rates after in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer (IVF-ET)
Flashback: Patch Adams on Medical Technology