In vitro fertilisation

Music May Boost Success Rates in IVF

IVF It’s long been said that music has healing power, and the ability to inspire creation, but a new study from the Marques Institute fertility clinic in Barcelona may have found a new way that music can aid in creation – or more accurately, procreation.

Spanish researchers injected sperm into nearly 1,000 eggs and placed them in embryos. Half of the eggs had iPods placed in their incubators, which played everything from classical selections by Bach and Mozart to pop music by Michael Jackson and Madonna. The embryos even listened to heavy metal tracks from bands like Nirvana and Metallica.

“When we work in an IVF, we try to mimic the conditions in the womb in terms of light and temperature,” researcher Carolina Castello told IOL Lifestyle. “For instance, we work in low light, but nobody had studied the effect of sound.”

Interestingly enough, it seemed that the embryos had responded to the music. When researchers came back to check on them, as expected, some of the eggs had been fertilized and some had not; this applied to all incubators – those with music and those without. However, the rate of fertilization seeme3d to be higher in the incubators that music had been played in, which suggests that something about the music had benefited the process of fertilization.

But it may not be the sound of music making the difference, researchers say, because embryos don’t actually develop the ability to hear sound until the reach about 14 weeks. Instead, they believe it’s possible that the vibrations of the music help improve the passage of nutrients to the egg and the removal of toxic waste.

Though it sounds a bit bizarre, Oxford University fertility expert, Dagan Wells, says there may be some scientific basis for the study.

“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,” Wells told IOL Lifestyle. ”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 to do the best job of all.”

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About the author


Kate Givans is a wife and a mother of five—four sons (one with autism) and a daughter. She’s an advocate for breastfeeding, women’s rights, against domestic violence, and equality for all. When not writing—be it creating her next romance novel or here on Growing Your Baby—Kate can be found discussing humanitarian issues, animal rights, eco-awareness, food, parenting, and her favorite books and shows on Twitter or Facebook. Laundry is the bane of her existence, but armed with a cup of coffee, she sometimes she gets it done.

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