10th Oct 2015: Daddy's Daughters and Sons; Perspectives on Male Factor Infertility Treatments and Trends by Dr Ruby Raheem
Come along to The Central Library at 2pm (George Washington Browne Conference Room which is one floor down from the front entrance) to listen to Ruby’s talk. There will be some food provided and an opportunity to socialise…
Title of talk:
Daddy’s Daughters and Sons: Perspectives on Male Factor Infertility, Treatments and Trends
Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:
- What is infertility?
- Infertility trends around the world.
- History of human infertility treatment.
- What is male factor infertility?
- Male factor infertility trends
- Causes of male factor infertility
- Male factor infertility treatments
- Daddy’s daughters and sons
- Complexities and ethics of embryo usage and surrogacy
I became interested in the social aspects of infertility and started looking into related news and publications during my research at Edinburgh University. I hope the talk will help to raise awareness and compassion towards those suffering from infertility.
A few paragraphs on your subject:
Infertility is the inability to have children and affects ~15% of couples worldwide. Some of these couples, with the help of health clinics, have succeeded in having babies. Infertility is not an illness. Many couples experience intense emotional need to have a baby. In some parts of the world, the social and community pressure on the childless couple can be overwhelming.
Certain sexually transmitted diseases cause infertility and used to be a major cause of infertility in the underdeveloped world. Many couples in the developed world focus on career earlier in their lives and start a family much later. Today, infertility is a growing worldwide trend affecting young and older couples.
Infertility is as old as civilisation and treatment records go back in time by a few thousand years. Gods, magic, priests and medicine men/women played a major role in the treatment of infertility of both men and women in Egypt. The ancient civilisations of Greece, China and India had their own concepts and cure for infertility.
Although historically, women have been the torchbearers of fertility, the egg and the sperm have equal roles in the success of a pregnancy. Male factor infertility is on the rise in the developed and developing world; lifestyle, exposure to certain types of plastics, environmental pollution, smoking, drinking, cancer and age are attributed to the rising male factor infertility trends in the world today.
According to folklores, the first human artificial insemination (AI) happened in the15th century. The history of medical intervention in assisting a couple to have a baby is nearly 300 years old. John Hunter, a Scottish surgeon, was the first person to attempt AI on a couple, successfully. Several medical attempts and a few success stories from the 1800s are found in the medical journals of the 20th century. Modern infertility treatments requiring sophisticated equipment and trained clinical doctors and technicians, date back to mid-1900s.
With the birth of the first test tube baby in July 1978, infertility treatment has been publicly accepted in the West. Australia had its first test tube baby in 1980 and the US in 1981. Interestingly, the world’s second test tube baby was born without fanfare in India, 67 days after the world’s first test tube baby – in October 1978. The doctor committed suicide in 1981.
Fertility clinics are found in every nation in the 21st century and artificial reproductive technology (ART) is a multi-billion dollar industry. There are over 5 million IVF babies in the world today. What are some of the complexities and social responsibilities associated with IVF? Do come along to find out more about ART and society.
A few paragraphs about you:
I am originally from south India and have an academic background in Physics and Optics. After postgraduate studies and a decade long R&D career in the high tech industries (AMD and Corning) in the US, I came to the UK and pursued a career in academia – optical computing and 3-d imaging. At the University of Edinburgh, I researched DNA health of live cells, using Raman spectroscopy and optical tweezers. Even though the biology was new to me, I became fascinated by the topics related to ‘life’ and ‘health’. Probing embryo and foetal development is not vastly different from the quests of physics – the languages can be a bit confusing, but they both explore the ‘origin of life’, albeit differently.
What free internet knowledge resources would you recommend to others if they wish to explore your chosen theme further?
Read the newspaper for current topics
Google search will bring up many topics related to infertility
NHS and other health services around the world, fertility clinics and World Health Organisation reports also provide details on the subject.