I've heard playing music for plants can actually help plants grow to be taller and stronger, thanks to the mild vibrations the music emits. But could the same technique help to fertilize eggs during IVF? A new study suggests yes.
This far-out idea could potentially help the 7.3 million infertile couples in the U.S. as well as millions of others struggling to have children around the world. While infertility affects one in 8 couples in America, one in four couples are plagued by it in developing countries. That is a lot of people who want desperately to have kids, but can't.
This promise of new hope is music to their ears. At the Institut Marques fertility clinic in Barcelona, Spain, researchers studied whether playing music in IVF labs would boost the odds of fertilization by injecting sperm in almost 1,000 eggs and putting them in dishes in incubators.
Then they divided the incubators in half. Five hundred received no music, while the other 500 had speakers placed in them, where everything from pop tunes by Michael Jackson and Madonna to rock songs by Nirvana and Metallica to classical works by Mozart and Vivaldi were played 24/7.
Not all of the eggs were fertilized, but fertilization rates were 5 percent higher in incubators with music (there seemed to be no difference in success rates based on type of music played). The theory is that musical vibrations could mimic what occurs naturally during conception, where the fertilized egg is rocked as it rolls down the fallopian tube, and then receives gentle contractions in the womb. As bizarre as it sounds, according to The Daily Mail, "Music is thought to ease the passage of nutrients into the egg and speed the removal of toxic waste, so increasing the odds of fertilization taking place and the fledgling embryo surviving."
Though it is too early to say whether the technique makes a significant difference in the odds of giving birth, couples in 17 countries have become parents thanks to the unorthodox technique. So just as music can help a couple get in the mood for baby-making, it seems it has the same effect on your eggs—even if they're in a petri dish.
TELL US: Do you think music really can make a difference in conception? If so, what tunes would you want on your eggs' IVF playlist?
Image of woman with headphones courtesy of Shutterstock.