October 11, 2013

PCOS to Pregnancy: The History of Infertility

I'm a big history buff! I love history and learning about the way people lived years ago. A few weeks ago I decided to research infertility history and I was so interested! I didn't include all the information I found, but here are some highlights.

Middle Ages

  • It was thought that infertility could be caused by sin, infidelity, or blasphemy. 
  • Infertility was considered a "divine punishment". 


  • Assumed cause of infertility is "unbalanced menstruation".
  • If you had infertility, you were considered to be sterile.


  • Infertility is thought to be caused by "unbalanced living". 
  • Doctors begin to look for defects in the uterus and cervix find explanations. 
  • Doctor Marion Sims develops the speculum and begins experimenting with artificial insemination. 
  • Gynecology becomes a medical profession.
  • A Harvard doctor claims "heavy mental schooling" in the teenage years is to blame for infertility in women. He claims that the extra work on the brain causes injury to the other organs of the body. 
  • Late 1800s, infertility rates are low. It is attributed to routine gynecological care.


  • Test is developed for blocked fallopian tubes.
  • Female hormones, estrogen and progesterone, and the male hormone, testosterone, are discovered.
  • In 1934, twin girls are born after donor insemination.
  • Male infertility and sperm counts are explored more widely.
  • Hormone supplements become available.
  • In 1944, the first in vitro fertilization takes place.
  • In 1960, Clomid is tested as an infertility treatment.
  • First US sperm bank opens.
  • In 1978, the first "test tube" baby is born.

It amazes me how far we've come especially in the last 100 years. I can't imagine where we'll be 100 years from now! If you're interested in reading more details, check out the links below for more facts and information!

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies
American Radio Works

I'm Jenny, the mama behind the blog Cloth Diaper Revival.   I'm a stay at home mom to Noah and a wife to Chas, the cloth diapering dad.  I used to be a 3rd grade teacher until I was blessed with the birth of my first child, Noah. I'm currently trying to conceive my second child while struggling with infertility due to PCOS. This series covers my journey and my experiences along the way.