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Meet Freddie, the first British baby born thanks to Nirvana, Madonna and Metallica being played in his IVF lab
Meet Freddie, the first British baby to be born thanks to music-assisted fertility treatment. His proud parents had suffered the heartache of two miscarriages and a failed attempt at IVF before hearing about the innovative technique in which music is played to eggs in a dish. Studies suggest that the tiny vibrations produced by music give fertilisation a helping hand.
Freddie is now one, and his parents, Isabelle and Stephen, say he seems to have a natural love of music. The couple, from Liverpool, said: ‘From early on we noticed he was hugely drawn to music. He always loved being sung to and seemed more relaxed when music was being played. ‘We hope that when we tell Freddie about the musical element of his beginnings it will help him feel extra-special.’
Freddie’s mother became pregnant with him after travelling to Barcelona for treatment at the Institut Marques fertility clinic where researchers are studying whether playing music in IVF labs boosts the odds of fertilisation. They injected sperm into almost 1,000 eggs and put them in dishes in incubators. They then placed speakers in half the incubators and played music round the clock. The playlist included pop songs by Michael Jackson and Madonna, heavier tracks from Nirvana and Metallica and classical works by Bach, Mozart and Vivaldi. As expected, not all of the eggs were fertilised. But, to their surprise, they found that fertilisation rates were around five per cent higher in the incubators in which music had been played. Pop, heavy metal and classical music appeared to work equally well. Embryos don’t develop the ability to detect sound for at least 14 weeks, so it is thought that the vibrations produced by the music are key.
They are believed to ease the passage of nutrients into the egg and speed the removal of toxic waste, so increasing the odds of fertilisation taking place and the fledgling embryo surviving. In natural conception, the fertilised egg is rocked as it rolls down the fallopian tube. It is also subjected to gentle contractions in the womb. It is too early to say if the musical technique boosts the odds of giving birth but couples in 17 countries, including the UK, have become parents thanks to it.
His parents, who spent four years trying for a family before travelling to Spain, said: ‘We were utterly overjoyed when we discovered that we had been successful. After all our earlier disappointments, it was hard to actually believe that everything would be all right – but it was. ‘We were amazed to learn that our son had been the first born in the UK using the technique. This was a very exciting discovery for us, as we are both huge music lovers.’
Spanish researcher Carolina Castello added that there is no harm in those trying to conceive naturally playing music. She said: ‘Music is beneficial for everything.’All news »»