Over four years ago I joked to the embryologist at the fertility clinic to please play some Barry White in the lab. She laughed and two days later, when she called with the successful report of how many eggs had fertilized and become embryos, she shared that she actually did put on the radio when she was working and some nice "slow jams" came on.
Last week researchers from the Institut Marquès, a fertility clinic in Barcelona, released a breakthrough study revealing there really is a connection between music and successful fertilization. They discovered music improves IVF. "Impact of exposure to music during in vitro culture on embryo development" was presented at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction (ESHRE) in London.
The study analyzed 985 embryos from 114 different patients. These embryos were placed inside an incubator with loudspeakers built inside. Using iPods playing a variety of music, the team then determined if acoustics had any impact on success rates of fertilized embryos.
Related: 25 powerful photos of women giving birth
Dr. Marisa López Teijón, one of the leaders of the research team, explains how they performed the study. "[The embryos] were randomly divided into two groups and were cultured in two different incubators: one provided with a loudspeaker system and the other in a conventional incubator."
"The results show that those grown with music had statistically higher fertilization rate, increased by 4.8%."
The team is said to have played hits by Michael Jackson and Madonna, head-banging tracks from Nirvana and Metallica, and sweeping classical works by Vivaldi, Mozart, and Bach.
A fertility expert from Oxford University thinks the music theory is a good one and he suggests techno music might be the best genre for fertilization. Dr. Dagan Wells says, "Embryos produced using IVF sit on a dish, stewing in their own juices but those produced naturally are wafted down the fallopian tubes, rocking and rolling all their way to the uterus. This movement means that the embryo experiences a very dynamic environment, which may have some advantages, particularly in terms of getting rid of waste products. The vibrations caused by music may stimulate this effect. One might speculate that techno music, with its pounding bass beat, might do the best job of all."
An almost 5% increase in fertilization rate is HUGE in the world of assisted reproduction. I'll be trying again in the next year and you know I will be making a great mixed CD with some Madonna, Nirvana, and LOTS of techno.
Check out this AMAZING video from Institut Marquès:
It shows the evolution of an embryo using one of the songs played in the incubators (and please note the song choice).
-By Dresden Shumaker
For 12 celebrities who have opened up about their fertility issues, visit Babble!
MORE ON BABBLE
25 ways husbands embarrass their wives in the delivery room
29 things you should NEVER say to a pregnant woman
10 famous moms caught breastfeeding in public (and we have the pics!)