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Send in the Clowns

Daily Mail,  Jan 11, 2011
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Sending in the clowns could greatly increase the odds of IVF success, a study has found. Just 15 minutes of jokes and magic tricks immediately after fertility treatment almost doubled the chances of pregnancy.

The researcher responsible for the findings, a fertility doctor and trained mime artist, believes that a dose of laughter helps stress ebb away.

But critics failed to see the funny side and said there was little evidence that laughter could make pregnancy more likely.

For the study, Professor Shevach Friedler tracked the progress of more than 200 women undergoing fertility treatment at his clinic in Israel.

All had IVF as normal, but at the end of the course, after the embryos were implanted in the patient, half were treated to a quarter of an hour of ‘medical clowning’.

To appeal to the adult mind, the clown switched the trademark red nose for a chef’s uniform and told jokes about cookery.

He also performed magic tricks, the journal of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports.

The clown appeared to work wonders, with 36.4 per cent of those visited becoming pregnant, compared with only 20.2 per cent of the other IVF patients.

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