Humor in reproductive medicine — the good, the bad, and the funny

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Mark Sigman, M.D.


The use of humor in medicine is an old concept that frequently comes under scrutiny. There is a diverse range of areas where humor is utilized and may play a role in medicine. Bennett has grouped humor in medicine into a variety of categories, including humor and health, humor and physician-patient communication, humor and patient care, humor and the health professional, humor in medical education, and humor in the medical literature (1). There is clear evidence that humor, when applied to patients, has health benefits, such as lowering blood pressure, decreasing pain and thus resulting in less need for pain medications, and decreasing stress hormones (2). As health care providers, we often use humor to help us deal with stress. It is important in this context to separate the types of humor one may use with colleagues from those that may be used with patients. That is not to say it is inappropriate to use humor with patients, but the type of humor must be carefully chosen (3).

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Fertility and Sterility

Editorial Office, American Society for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility and Sterility® is an international journal for obstetricians, gynecologists, reproductive endocrinologists, urologists, basic scientists and others who treat and investigate problems of infertility and human reproductive disorders. The journal publishes juried original scientific articles in clinical and laboratory research relevant to reproductive endocrinology, urology, andrology, physiology, immunology, genetics, contraception, and menopause. Fertility and Sterility® encourages and supports meaningful basic and clinical research, and facilitates and promotes excellence in professional education, in the field of reproductive medicine.