IVF-prayer study raises doubts

Journal withdraws study involving psychic researcher under house arrest from Web site

Alison McCook(abmccook@yahoo.com)
Jun 13, 2004

The Journal of Reproductive Medicine has withdrawn from its Web site a September 2001 study that demonstrated the benefits of prayer on fertility treatments, following recent concerns raised by the research community about the validity of the results. One of the three authors of the paper is a lawyer and psychic researcher who last month pleaded guilty in a Pennsylvania court to a number of charges, including using phony identities and defrauding the cable company Adelphia Communications of more than $1 million.

Daniel Wirth, the lawyer and psychic researcher, is currently under house arrest in California. He and Rogerio Lobo and Kwang Cha—both at Columbia University at the time of the report was published—found in a double-blind study that couples were twice as likely to conceive using in vitro fertilization (IVF)–embryo transfer if strangers from other countries prayed for their success.

Cha is no longer at Columbia and now runs...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?