Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
The Schmooze

No Joke: Clowns Boost IVF Pregnancy Rates, Study Says

Busybodies are constantly giving couples who have difficulty conceiving all sorts of advice — foods to eat, vitamins to take, acupuncturists to try. It ranges from well-meaning to downright offensive. Now, along comes a suggestion more bizarre than almost any other… with scientific backing.

Dr. Shevach Friedler, an infertility doctor at the Assaf HaRofeh Medical Center near Tel Aviv, has concluded that if couples try IVF, what they really need is jokes and magic tricks. He got a medical clown to entertain women straight after they had embryos implanted in their wombs. Some 36.4% of them conceived, compared with 20.2% of women he surveyed who weren’t entertained post-implantation.

Medical clowning is a big thing in Israel, where doctors increasingly believe it benefits patients. In 2006, Haifa University’s Department of Theatre began a special bachelors’ program for a group of medical clowns who wanted to build on their knowledge. Then in 2009 it launched a degree program that trains and accredits medical clowns. Yes, clowns are literally having a laugh at the taxpayer’s expense.

Friedler’s research was just published in the journal Fertility and Sterility.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.