Trouble Conceiving? Try a Clown.

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[Bad Parents]
It can be a heartbreaking situation, or a life-changing one: a woman who has had trouble conceiving seeks in-vitro fertilization. At the cost of thousands of dollars a pop, eggs and sperm are harvested and merged, and the resulting embryos are transferred to the hopeful woman's uterus, in the hope that they will implant and the happy couple will become pregnant.

But is there any way to increase the woman's chances of conceiving? A new study suggests that there may be such a method--clowns.

Yes, in a study done in Israel, researchers found that a 10-15 minute visit by a clown immediately after receiving embryos helped increase the rate of conception among such women from 20% (the rate for a control group not exposed to clowns) to 35%. The researchers attribute the increased success to the clowns' ability to relieve the stress and anxiety of the loaded medical procedure with the magic of laughter.

We have to assume that researchers made sure that the clowns didn't help the ladies to become pregnant by some other old-fashioned means.

Would other forms of humor have equal success? Or perhaps better? Would watching Monty Python and the Holy Grail produce even better results, or would it simply result in children who are unable to count to three?

But the best thing about this story comes from a seldom-heard phrase found in this quote from one of the researchers:

"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.

Send in the clowns. (Sorry.)




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