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Fertility and Fertility Control By Antoinette Kathol Keep in Mind 1. Who was in charge of anti-fertility measures in general and contraception? 2. At what point, or under what circumstances, did women’s and men’s fertility interests diverge? 3. What is the impact of unmistakable knowledge of the male role in conception? 4. What is the impact of patriarchy? 5. When did fertility cease to be an individual or family matter and become a matter for group, eventually state, regulation? Early History Early history of contraception is woman’s history and therefore unknown This ignorance is because many anthropologist have been male – Men did not go in market place where they were sold – Men hear what they want to hear – It was kept secret because it could be means for divorce No contraception before mid-nineteenth century for Western Culture – Male’s withdrawal method – Couples married for awhile performed intercourse less frequently. Male Anthropologist may never ask IF: They did not win confidence of any females Abortion is openly performed See or suspect infanticide Postpartum sex taboo is long and firmly enforced Infant and child mortality rates are high They saw little reason to ask about contraception. Contraception kept Secret More effective device or agent might be, more concealed women would keep it Women would reveal the name of contraceptive plant – They would not divulge how to prepare it or use it. Ignorance in Europe and America Anthropologists discounted reports of herbal contraceptives They believed if their own medical science had yet to discover it, it did not work Assumptions Women invented all the basic types of contraception known today Modern medicine refined or re- invented devices and methods that women knew centuries before Assumptions Explained: – Hominid infants survival would depend on its mother’s ability to limit births – Men are hostile to contraception They see women’s methods of preventing or terminating pregnancy as withholding from males their right, as men, to have children – Men want more children than woman do Herbal Contraceptives Primitive groups – foods or condiments if prepared one way – Contraceptives or abortifacients if prepared another way such as unripe or raw foods Unripe pineapple is used to interfere with gestation if used in smaller concentrations Less familiar Contraceptives – Bay laurel – Feverfew – Plantain – Arbor vitae – St. John’s Wart Mythology Female demons in Jewish legend – Lilith Blamed for infertility and infant deaths Lilith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Horticultural and Pre- horticultural Period Iroquois (Seneca) – Birth spacing in women’s hands – Women took greatest joy in birth of a daughter Australian Aboriginal women – Have complete control over reproduction function Primitive Women Ignorance about women’s role in contraceptive technology Two Stereotypes – They limit their families by abortion and infanticide – Their lives are a repetitive cycle of childbearing Most pre-horticultural groups grew very slowly and simply maintain numbers Most anthropologists found – Every tribe ever studied has wished to limit its fertility, and has used all means at its disposal to do so. Anthropologists Question Whether they wish to limit fertility has been with us as long as our humanness Whether it arose at some later time and origin Did this desire start with the individual woman to limit families or the desire of a while to prevent or correct overpopulation Woman could only carry one child while on moves – She would not bear another until the 1st could walk miles without help Start of the agricultural period brought on an explosion in population which then needed to be corrected. Cultural Methods Postpartum Intercourse Taboos Make sexual intercourse taboo for mother and father – Period ranged from several weeks, months or even 4 to 5 years after birth Plains Indians custom – Don’t have second child until the 1st is 10 years old This taboo kept the group in balance with food supply – Ensured infants received enough protein – Survival factor This taboo might keep anthropologists from searching other contraceptives. Cultural Methods Breast-Feeding Postpartum intercourse taboos have some relation with the need to breast feed Nursing has a contraceptive effect Even today, more births are prevented by breast feeding than any other method Women consciously prolonged it Baffin Land Eskimo and Native American mothers – Prolonged it to keep families small Cultural Methods Other Intercourse Taboos/Regulations Pre or extra marital love-making Mbuti of Africa – young partners in premarital sex must not embrace fully – Hold each other by the shoulders Applied by women – Chastity belt a visible sign of unavailability Goatskin chastity tunic worn by Libyan girls If removed, resulted in death of man Cultural Methods Ridicule Time tested cultural technique to influence behavior Ghana in 1970s – Women who are easy are ridiculed as being primitive and have no self control Fiji: feelings of shame if they become pregnant too often Cultural Methods Imposed Barrenness/Celibacy Certain groups had imposed temporary or permanent celibacy – Nuns, monks, priests in Roman Catholic countries, young men not yet warriors and unmarried girls in Western Societies Imposed celibacy/barrenness – Demand a stratified society – Consciousness of overpopulation – Imposed on women not to limit their own families Imposed Barrenness/Celibacy Atrahasis Epic This epic takes place in Babylon Reason the gods decide to destroy humankind is because of overpopulation Plagues bring suffering – By 6th year, parents were eating children Great Flood is for final solution Atrahasis escapes flood Gods compromise and allow humans to live but limits their fertility Cultural Methods Perversions Difficult to research Cannot connect them certainly to birth- control motives Sexual urges satisfied by sexual practices other then heterosexual intercourse – Fertility may be reduced Such practices: – Anal intercourse, oral intercourse, masturbation, withdrawal and homosexuality Mental/Psychological Methods Area of contraceptive history almost totally neglected Modern science began to re-examine allegations – Ancient women had mind or dream control over their fertility Physical/Mechanical Methods Varied barriers to passage of sperm Expulsion of sperm from body after intercourse Douches Other physical/mechanical anti-fertility methods Physical/Mechanical Methods Barriers Barrier methods make little sense until women are aware of the role of seminal fluid in conception Dahomey women of West Africa – tubercle root pulp as vaginal plug Bapinda women of Central Africa – used rags and chopped grass American slave women used sponges to prevent pregnancy Physical/Mechanical Methods Barriers Oils, gummy substances – Various thick, oily, or gummy substances used alone with spermicidal Karo-Bataks of Sumatra – used a small ball of opium into the vagina as a contraceptive Physical/Mechanical Methods Cervical cap; internal sheath Japanese prostitutes applied disks of oiled paper to the cervix Casanova recommended using half a lemon as a cervical cap Prokris’s invention: snipped the bladder of a goat and placed it in the vagina Djuka women: snipped off on end of an okra see pod and inserted it into the vagina – “vegetable condom” Physical/Mechanical Methods Chastity Belts Near Eastern Queen Semiramis invented it to keep female courtiers from gaining influence over her son Cheyenne Indian women used a chastity rope to signify unavailability Physical/Mechanical Methods Douches Where water alone was used, it was a physical method Where a spermicidal or other additive was used It would be a chemical or herbal method Physical/Mechanical Methods Expulsion of Sperm Females are endowed with ejaculatory powers – It would expel the male seed Spasmic or rhythmic muscular movements used Kgatta women of Africa used a drug to expel the semen This technique is looked down upon by birth control experts Physical/Mechanical Methods Deep Massage: Tipped Uterus Tipping uterus backward by strong abdominal massage Conception more difficult if the uterus is tipped far enough – Cervix can rise in vagina until its mouth is covered by opposite vaginal wall Extremely painful Physical/Mechanical Methods Intrauterine Devices Most vexed is the IUD Invented in 1909 by German doctor Richter – 1950s it was rediscovered Hippocrates's time, lead tubes filled with mutton fat where being inserted into the cervix and left there Women passed on own contraceptives – Mother to daughter, midwife to client, wise woman to friend Japanese women inserted a dry plug of seaweed (Laminaria) into cervix – It expanded as it absorbed moisture – Gradually dilated the cervix and brought on an abortion IUD’s Herbal or Chemical Method Physico-Chemical Douches became chemical when they contained spermicidal ingredients – Rare among primitive women – Not very effective Douches are difficult to inject solutions into the vagina far enough Physico-chemical are most effective before modern times Barrier plus spermicidal was the sea sponge soaked in sperm killing agents – One improvement was the attached string Herbal or Chemical Method Chemical Pessaries Suppositories or pessaries in which a gummy substance would be inserted into the vagina Achehnese women of Sumatra use a black mass in the form of a pill – Inserted before coitus Herbal or Chemical Method Oral Contraceptives Usually herbs or herbal preparations – Using local flowers In Hippocratic writings, a potion called misy was produced for a year’s sterility Yao women used plant sap Shawnee Indian girls drank the juice of a certain herb Herbal or Chemical Method Oral Contraceptives Inca women grew stenomessum varietum in their gardens as a contraceptive – Intercourse between upper-class and a commoner was a capital offense Fijian women make a remedy like the “morning after pill” – Peeled roots and bruised leaves of a roqa tree Many of the contraceptives were poisons Cyclical and Rhythm Methods Methods relying on a safe period for intercourse – Unsuccessful for modern women Dr. Evelyn Billing created the Billings Method, 1964 – Works when a woman is fertile each month during the 100 hrs. surrounding ovulation – Cervical mucus changes while fertile period approaches – When used correctly, 98.5% effective Some women ovulate more than once a month Cyclical and Rhythm Methods Gerald and Selmaree Oster developed Body Aware System – Oster’s test A sheet of paper dipped into urine or saliva changes color in response to high estrogen levels Surgical Methods Ovarotomy for contraception – Women who have had it have a mark or scar on the side above the hip – Western observers assumed they removed the ovaries Earliest surgery in many cultures 19th Century Pessaries Emeline Bringham (1867) – Patented and improved pessary – It’s an intrauterine or intravaginal device 19th Century Vaginal syringes: contraceptive douching Anna Palmer (1879) – patented concealed uterine cauterizes and vaginal syringes Laura Adams of NY (1881) – patented a vaginal syringe Elizabeth Holcombe of NY (1881) – patented a vaginal irrigator or urinal – Bidet-like device for post-coital douches 19th Century Cervical Cap Unnamed German midwife place, after delivery, a foreign body in front of the cervix It was actually invented a thousand years ago but rediscovered 19th Century Diaphragm Dr. Aletta Jacobs helped develop the vulcanized rubber diaphragm Greatest advance in birth control since the condom Two advantages – Approved by doctors – Once prescribed under the control of women 19th Century Perennial Sponge Annie Besant (1870s) – Soaked a sponge in quinine solution and inserted into the vagina before intercourse 20th Century Pioneers Margaret Sanger – coined the term birth control – Founded the 1st doctor staffed birth control clinic in U.S. Birth Control Clinical Research Bureau in NY Developed inexpensive contraceptive jelly Marie Carmichael Stopes – educated women about sex, conception and contraception – Found England’s 1st birth control clinic 20th Century Rational Methods Hannah Stone (1930s) – combined diaphragm with spermicidal jellies – Diaphragm comes loose during intercourse Dr. Connie Chambers Harris – found that the dosage in Birth control is too strong – The pill has lower dosages of hormones now Marjorie Murray (1974) – invented and patented a pillbox with timer and buzzer – Personal Pill Reminder 20th Century Male Contraception Dr. Martha Voegli – devised a technique for men – 3 weeks of daily 45 minute baths in 116°F water – Make men sterile for 6 months Barbara Seaman (1978) – suggested condoms to be made in small, medium and large – Labeled Jumbo, Colossal, and Supercolossal to ease the males ego ???Questions???
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