Medical clowning is the practice of using clowns to help promote healing in sick patients. The clowns are often staffed by the hospital and make weekly rounds on patients as part of medical therapy.
Now, the McGill University Health Centre is testing the practice out on patients undergoing fertility treatments. Two university accredited medical clowns will present a conference at the MUHC’s reproductive center discussing clowning and fertility rates. Following the presentation, the clowns will be available to interact with interested patients.
“With big red noses and a comedic disposition, clowns Jérôme Arous and Nimrod Eisenberg will be making hopeful future parents smile and laugh with the goal of improving the chances their embryonic transfers will take,” the MUHC said in a statement.
The practice of medical clowning to promote fertility does have the support of experimental evidence.
In a study of 219 women undergoing IVF, 15 minutes of clown entertainment resulted in a 16% increase in the rate of pregnancy.
The mechanism behind this response is still unknown. However, a decrease in stress may play a role.