Say thank you to the social and medical advances of the twentieth century – primarily those of chemical birth control, the Pill.
Yes, chalk it to the great advancements! Sarcasm aside, indisputable developments in society and in medicine have resulted in the present state of affairs.
Incidentally, “Mothers’ Day (with the plural) is how it was spelled in the U.S. congressional resolution first recognizing it, 9 May 1908”. That was before all this started, before Margaret Sanger wrote “What Every Girl Should Know”, before she started a radical feminist monthly “The Woman Rebel”, and released 100,000 copies of “Family Limitation”. It was before “her confrontational style attracted even greater publicity for herself and the cause of birth control.”
Some years later, in the late 1920s – early 1930s, the Japanese Dr. Kyusaku Ogino (Professor at Niigata, Japan) and Dr. Hermann Knaus in Austria (University Women’s Clinic in Graz, Austria) independently discovered that women can conceive only during a brief period “in the middle of the menstrual cycle” [The Eugenics Review: Volume 28, 1936]. But – while this was the fundamental discovery of the menstrual cycle – pretty much right away there was the similarly fundamental criticism that “the so-called safe period of Knaus and Ogino offers very small protection indeed”.
That was because, for reproductive management, “the theories of Knaus and Ogino have not yet been proved sufficiently reliable for us to recommend the so-called safe period as a method of contraception…” although, “if the theory is correct, there will be more likelihood of impregnation at this time.”
Then again, “there is a good deal of evidence to prove the existence of these fertile and sterile periods”, and an author in 1945 “gives his opinion that the period during which the mammalian egg is susceptible to fertilization may be measured”. It was eventually recognized that the extent of the fertile period should be only 3 days, and that the basic practical problem was the variability of the menstrual cycle, essentially of the follicular (“proliferative”) phase, the one before ovulation.
However, we were not around with the Ovulona™ to measure the fertile period, and Mrs. Sanger’s zeal took her in the direction of a “magic pill”. In view of the failure of the first effort at natural approach to reproductive management, the so-called rhythm method, her direction is not too surprising as it was the time of great pharmaceutical advances. The chemists had the bandwagon of steroid chemistry to ride and Dr. Gregory Pincus had pioneered in vitro fertilization in the rabbit, for which he was not admired but more or less ostracized.
“In 1953, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick (a heir to major millions of dollars) confronted Pincus with the idea of creating an oral contraceptive”, and the rest is history – of the Pill. History of the oral contraceptive pill and the ensuing sexual revolution. Do check out under P (Pill, the) in the Alphabet of bioZhena, and don’t miss also under M the article about “Mysterious conceptions (OR THE NONEXISTENCE THEREOF)”.
And then – now – there are the consequences of the Pill, one of which translates as the absence of the mother status in the lives of many women desiring motherhood. Those who are unsuccessfully trying to conceive, and so the bouquets of Mothers’ Day are only for their Moms.
Look how there was no infertility and no IVF before contraception. See the blue curve of infertility in the bottom graph, and the green curve of IVF in the top graph of books plotted against the years of the 20th century. See how they go up only years after the rise of contraception (bottom) and after birth control and family planning (top).
I have discussed the consequences of the steroid chemical contraception technology in several posts in this bioZhena’s Weblog. The consequences are numerous because of the far-reaching significance of tinkering with reproductive physiology – consequences for women’s health, and for public health.
Check out the Table of Contents = links to bioZhena posts. See, for example:
The perils of IVF, of ARTs, of giving birth at old maternal age. (About epigenetic evidence that should make you think twice+ before you contemplate In Vitro Fertilization and think that having a baby can wait. The bottom line? Be a young mother!)
Along the way to the unfortunate consequences of the anti-ovulation, anti-conception Pill and its modifications (modified methods of delivery of the chemicals into the female organism) there has been the effort to replace the calendar or rhythm method with different means of prediction of the ovulation day. I am referring to Natural Family Planning (NFP) and/or to the somewhat more recently labeled Fertility Awareness Based Methods (FABMs), one of which is the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) itself. Fertility awareness (as opposed to the calendar) is key.
Some proponents will include NFP within FABMs and, of course, define NFP as requiring sexual abstinence during the fertile phase (fertile window) of the menstrual cycle; as opposed to FAM, which is defined as the use of a barrier method of contraception (such as a condom) during the fertile phase (fertile window).
Either way, the extent of the fertile window has always been THE major issue or rather the issue has always been the need for accurate and reliable determination of the fertile days. Only our Ovulona can determine the mere 3 fertile days due to the lifetimes of the sperm and of the ovum, egg. No other technique can.
Natural Family Planning or more broadly the FABMs cannot win if they continue to rely on what we have called (politely) the peri-ovulation methods of guesstimating the fertile window. Whether used to assist conception or to avoid it, ovulation calculators, calendars and circulating hormone detectors will not do. Scientific Fertility Assessment™ based on Follliculogenesis In Vivo™ is the only way to stop the unhealthy chemicalization of reproductive health management.
Natural family planning was a significant refinement of the fundamental discovery of Ogino and Knaus, developed as an alternative to the artificial chemical contraception. For decades the NFP proponents, along with OBGYNs and birth control advocates, erred on the (off-putting) long side of guesstimating the fertile window from various signs of the approach of ovulation.
Before it was officially – and incorrectly – decided in 1995 that there were 6 fertile days (all before and including the ovulation day), the period of abstinence required by NFP was advocated as at least 10 or 13 days long. A bit too much, to say the least – and, naturally, without monitoring the variable pre-ovulation phase to quantitatively anticipate ovulation, the failure rate was too high for birth control.
Logically, the same goes for “the other side of the coin”, for conception and pregnancy achievement. Again, please see certain other posts in this blog for more – you’ll recognize the pertinent articles in the table of contents.
One example of such a post is “Major studies decades ago revealed variability of menstrual cycles” (But people are still naïve about the basic cause of the difficulty to achieve pregnancy).
The NFP and FABM approaches to birth control have managed to avoid being nicknamed “the Vatican roulette” – unlike the rhythm/calendar method of Ogino and Knaus, the pioneers of the fertile and sterile periods who discovered the menstrual cycle. However, without our Ovulona™ the NFP and other fertility awareness methods are not reliable and, despite the NFP popularity in numerous countries, they are not any more suitable for birth avoidance than “the Vatican roulette”. Without the definitive determination of the fertile days, they are not approved for avoiding conception, and tend to be utilized for aiding conception.
That’s because, in the proceptive use (promoting conception), the methods’ lack of reliability only translates into an extended time of trying to conceive rather than into an unwanted pregnancy. Only! Fertility awareness tends to be utilized for aiding conception by focused intercourse because of the high prevalence of the difficulty to conceive. And focus is about all that those methods do, which helps (even if at least half is misfocused, if you take my meaning, if you see what I mean). The probability of conception increases with focus on the fertile window of opportunity. That’s fundamental, too.
People have a hard time accepting that getting pregnant is not as easy as expected, when they finally decide to want a baby – usually way too late, and after her use of the Pill. The drug makes healthy young women in their best years to postpone family- baby-making, it damages their cervical S-crypts thus causing difficulty to conceive and, by encouraging promiscuous sex life, it has caused an enormous increase in the prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases that also lead to infertility. Not just a double whammy, a triple whammy on womankind. Sad, sad, sad.
The underlying principle of the predicament of unfulfilled yearning for a baby is highlighted in the second half of the caption or legend accompanying the Toyen painting just below – an image of futile waiting. (Highlight extracted as the briefest of summaries from https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/difficult-conception-tied-to-pregnancy-complications-addressed/.)
Advanced age of the would-be Mum works against her on account of the Mother Nature’s Probabilistic Rules and Regulations of Baby-Making: Good health and successful insemination probabilities are degraded whereupon the strict Natural Eugenicist suppresses the conceptus. So that, most often, the hCG pregnancy marker does not even have a chance to be detected – after the nerve-wracking 2-week wait – by the not-so-young Mum-candidate’s HPT [Home Pregnancy Test]. Needless to say that, all the more the not-so-young motherhood aspirant needs to enhance the fourth element of the equation, the probability of correct timing of the hoping-for-baby sex.
And all this because the young lady used the Pill during the years best suited for baby-making, and as a consequence she is not-so-young any more. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature! Or with…
Therefore, I conclude this blog post by disputing the positive and admiring message in the concluding paragraph in the above-cited article “The Birth of The Pill”. They write: “Margaret Sanger dreamt of the idea of a birth control pill since she was a young woman. If she wasn’t confined to the boundaries of her time, she and McCormick could’ve researched and funded The Pill without the help of any male doctors or scientists. Unfortunately, the society that they lived in would not allow them to do so; they did go as far as they could. Many of their achievements go unnoticed, but both women were really the leading forces behind the development of The Pill.” QUOTE UNQUOTE.
Yes, indeed, Margaret Sanger and Katharine McCormick were the leading forces in the inception of chemical contraception. Driven by a social, political agenda (with “can do” in lieu of needed biomedical insight), they imposed on women, and hence on humankind, a simple-minded solution “as simple as taking an aspirin”. But, then… the consequences … among them an enormous increase in the incidence of sexually transmitted infections, contributing to the epidemic of infertility.
And that’s only for openers, as the saying goes. Referring to https://biozhena.wordpress.com/2012/04/18/the-perils-of-ivf-of-arts-of-giving-birth-at-old-age-part-2/: Detrimental effects on the offspring and – via epigenetics – on the health of future generations. Iatrogenic medicine kicking Hippocrates where it hurts the most. Also, therefore, quite the opposite effects with respect to the eugenic vision of Mrs. Sanger. Ironic, isn’t it.