The History of Society and Infertility Throughout the Decades
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that nearly one in every eight couples struggles to conceive. And while those odds may not bode well for reproduction, they should, at the very least, provide a kind of safety in numbers for those dealing with infertility related issues.
Or do they?
If history is any indication, infertility has always been – and remains – such a societal taboo that one survey recently found that more than 60 percent of respondents said they hid their infertility from family and friends, and nearly half didn’t even tell their mothers.
Because behind every failed cycle are women and men who have fought tirelessly with themselves and their infertility with daily injections, drugs, hormones, countless blood tests, surgeries and other procedures.
Over the centuries – since the dawn of time, really – women who couldn't have children were given many hurtful names and labels that implied that infertility was a shortcoming, a weakness – and women usually suffered for it.
Egyptian society treated difficulty with conception as an illness that had to be diagnosed and treated, with recorded documents discussing the treatment of gynecologic disorders. Ancient Greece also recognized infertility as a medical problem necessitating diagnosis and treatment. And where the Byzantine and the Middle Ages made little progress, the Renaissance provided many discoveries in anatomy, marking a period of scientific progress and advancements in the treatment of infertility.
But despite the progress made during these times, infertility was almost always the cross of the woman to bear. It was her womb that remained fruitless, so the onus was hers, too.
The 19th and 20th centuries, however, made tremendous advances in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility. Those centuries marked the discovery of fertilization – the union of an egg and a sperm – and 35 years after British scientists created the world’s first ‘test-tube baby.”
Now, women struggling with infertility are recognized as patients instead of curiosities or the condemned. Little by little – and albeit slowly – the veil of taboo is lifting, encouraging more honest discussions about infertility, its causes, its diagnoses, and its treatments.
At the Center for Reproductive Medicine, we want to join your discussions about infertility. We want to help shoulder the burden of your struggles to let you focus on what really matters: having the family you’ve always wanted.
Call CRM in Orlando today at (800) 343-6331 to let us help give you every conceivable chance for success.