Tuesday, August 10, 2010

A Fertility Expert of the Georgian Age

Does thought of a Georgian gynecologist make you shudder a little and instinctively cover your nether-regions?  There is good reason for that.  But rather than telling horror stories, I have a triumphal tale today.

The year 1776 saw the first successful attempt at artificial insemination.  A humble draper, born with a deformed urethra and penis, and his wife was having difficulty in conceiving a child.  The couple brought the issue to the esteemed Dr. John Hunter whose advice was to use a warm syringe to inject the husband's semen into his wife's uterus.  Success!  Modern science helped the happy couple become parents.

But like so many scientific topics that tend to be controversial due to moral and religious feelings, Dr Hunter didn't reveal the success of the procedure; in fact he hid it.  It wasn't until after Dr Hunter's death that the successful artificial insemination was revealed.

8 comments:

Bearded Lady said...

yey for artificial insemination. Too bad the good doctor didn't get any credit.

Lauren said...

fascinating! What a modest Dr., but of course his career was in his best interest!

JaneGS said...

Cool anecdote--lucky couple.

The Duchess said...

Wow. What a interesting post. I agree with the bearded lady about him not getting the credit for it.

Ingrid Mida said...

How interesting! Too bad he didn't share his knowledge.
Come over and visit. I have a fabulous book review about the Georgian period that is right up your alley!!!

Uneekdolldesigns said...

Oh my! Well, that sure was interesting- and fortunate for the couple also!

Leah said...

God that must have hurt, though. Whew!

Jessi P (AKA Emily Ryder) said...

Wow - and ow!