Social & Medical History

19th Century

  • Belief that women’s organ functions were linked to insanity.
  • Shift occurred moving women’s reason for insanity from menstruation to ovary function.
  • Belief that too much masturbation lead to infertility and insanity.

1884

In 1884, according to reports, a woman was inseminated in Philadelphia using sperm from the “best-looking” member of her doctor’s medical school class. The doctor informed her husband, but not the woman herself. When the doctor’s actions came to light years later, a public outcry followed and insemination stayed underground for decades.  From Searching for dad Their fathers were anonymous sperm donors. Now …
docs.newsbank.com/g/GooglePM/ADHB/lib00057 …

1890’s

  • Walter Heape successfully transferred embryos between rabbits.

1903

Oct 7, 1903 – At a meeting of the Christian , Social Union the other evening, at which the Bishop of Christchurch presided, several addresses were There were many causes that, would beiid towards infertility and a declining birth-rate. No doubt luxury had an invariable effect in that direction.

From Papers Past — Poverty Bay Herald — 7 October 1903 — THE …Related web pages
paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a …

1909

Nov 28, 1909 – It is still worth while, after half a century, to quote Spencer’s remark as to infertility in women due to mental labor carried to excess: into complete fitness for social life, the pressure of population, as it gradually finishes its ,work, must gradually bring itself to an end.

From Is Falling Birth Rate Evidence of Racial Decay?; Dr. Saleeby Holds Related web pages
select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res …

 1928

In collaboration with Selmar Aschheim he developed the first reliable pregnancy test in 1928. They later discovered that the anterior pituitary gland produced hormones called gonadotrophins, which in turn stimulated other endocrine glands, such as the ovary, to In collaboration with Selmar Aschheim he developed the first reliable pregnancy test in 1928. They later discovered that the anterior pituitary gland produced hormones called gonadotrophins, which in turn stimulated other endocrine glands, such as the ovary, to release their hormones. This work provided important evidence of control mechanisms in reproduction, which has had widespread significance in the development of medical and social attitudes towards questions on fertility http://books.google.com/books?id=fCbFf1Vu2k0C&pg=PA434&sig=MUhNjsboC89wuizTjUEbESwyCRc&hl=en

1929

Indeed, many of the innovations in sperm research emerge out of an attempt to understand the medicalized condition of male infertility— generally defined as less than 20 million/ml sperm density. In 1929, Macomber and Sanders developed the “spermatozoa count” or sperm count as the first diagnostic tool to be used in the detection of male infertility. However, social mores were an obstacle to efficient scientific research.  http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/social_text/v020/20.4moore.html

1947

The first research done on reproduction in the United States, studying social, economic, and medical aspects of infertility was planned in 1947. (NYT 24). The following year, some scientists had claimed to have solved one aspect of male infertility, but the case was quickly attributed to proper timing of ovulation by critics, showing an increase in the understanding of human female reproduction processes (NYT 48). JRA Horm — Essays

 

1970’s

  • First pregnancy achieved via IVF (1973).
  • Birth of first baby conceived via IVF (1977).

1990’s

  • Invention of the ICSI procedure by André van Steirteghem (1992).

2010

  • Robert Edward wins the Nobel Prize for developing IVF.
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