NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Prayer Doubles Fertility Rate

October 9, 2001

According to a double blind study in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine, intercessory prayer can double the success rate of in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments.

A team of U.S. researchers asked groups of people around the world to pray for pregnancy in one half of almost 200 women undergoing the fertility treatment in South Korea. The prayers continued throughout the three-week course of IVF treatment. The prayer groups were given only photographs of the women. The participants in the study were asked to either pray directly for an increased pregnancy rate in these women, or to pray that these prayers would be effective.

This was a double-blind study, meaning that neither the women nor their doctors were aware of the study.

The 199 women were treated at the Cha General Hospital in Seoul. Members of various Christian denominations in the U.S., Canada and Australia were given photographs of half the women, in batches of five at a time. An independent statistician had randomized the women into the two groups.

  • Researchers controlled for age, length of infertility, type of infertility and number of prior attempts to become pregnant following IVF.
  • Fifty percent of the women who were prayed for became pregnant.
  • Only 26 percent of women in the control group became pregnant.

The fertilization rates in each group of women were similar. But the embryo implantation rate was significantly higher in the prayer group. The number of multiple pregnancies was also higher in this group.

Source: Emma Young, "Prayer doubles IVF success rate," Reuters Health, October 1, 2001; K. Y. Cha, D. P. Wirth and R. A. Lobo, "Does Prayer Influence the Success of in Vitro Fertilization-Embryo Transfer: Report of a Masked, Randomized Trial," Journal of Reproductive Medicine, September 2001.


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