Understanding Infertility

Listen 49:20


When you’re a teenager, everybody tells you that getting pregnant happens quickly, under all kinds of circumstances. But when you look at the process of conception and pregnancy more closely, it resembles a synchronized dance of hormones and conditions. So many steps have to happen for a fertilized egg to embed in a uterus. So when this process doesn’t happen naturally, it’s pretty complicated to figure out how to intervene. Over the past century, reproductive medicine has grown rapidly as a field, from experimenting with artificial insemination to in vitro fertilization. On this episode, we look at fertility (and infertility), and what we have learned about assisting nature. Also, we explore some of the issues and challenges that have come with modern fertility medicine.

Also heard on this week’s episode:

  • We hear about the emotional roller coaster often involved in trying IVF treatments.
  • Richard Sharpe from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland explains the challenges surrounding male infertility, and why we know so little about this issue.
  • We hear an excerpt from the podcast Sick, which investigated the story of Indiana fertility doctor Donald Cline during its first season.

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