Conception – Past and Present

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the medieval to the modern. Today’s post from Isabel Davis introduces us to a new project that examines conception in the past and the present.

Those undergoing IVF treatment look modernity in the face. Watching a cell fertilise and an embryo develop in a petri-dish necessarily inspires awe in modern science. Read, for example, this moving account of embryo transfer by New Zealand blogger Little Red Hen.[1]  At the same time as marvelling at reproductive technology, she spares a thought for the people of the past, who lived without these assistive technologies; in spite of her own struggles it makes her ‘feel lucky’.

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Concealed Fertility Charms

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the medieval to the modern. Today’s post from Ceri Houlbrook explores concealed fertility charms.

In October 2015 I was contacted by a man named Roy Carter who’d been renovating a Tudor cottage in Burwash, East Sussex. During renovations he’d found a small wooden figurine, about an inch and a half long, which he believes had been deliberately concealed within the cottage, either placed above a roof beam or within one of the walls. This certainly isn’t the first obscure object to have been found secreted away within a domestic space. All manner of items have been discovered – from shoes and bottles to animal remains – in unusual locations: within walls; under floorboards, hearthstones, and thresholds; above doors and ceilings; up chimney breasts; in thatching; and buried in gardens. The majority of these items date to the 18th and 19th centuries, and appear to have been deliberately concealed rather than accidentally lost. But why?

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The ‘Eggs’ Affair’: Egg Donation in 21st Century Israel

The Perceptions of Pregnancy blog, like the Researchers’ Network, aims to reach beyond boundaries and borders, and to facilitate an international and interdisciplinary conversation on pregnancy and its associated bodily and emotional experiences from the earliest times to the present day. Today’s post is contributed by Angela Davis. Her post is the first on this site to explore Israel.

In this blog entry I look at the relationship between the state, medical profession and society in the provision and practice of assisted reproduction in Israel, focusing on the ‘eggs’ affair, a scandal that took place in 2000 about egg donation. Prior to the enactment of Israel’s Eggs Donation Law, 2010, the IVF Regulations allowed egg cell donations only by women who were undergoing IVF as infertility treatment. The rationale was that the health risks could not be justified unless the intervention was undergone primarily for the donor’s own benefit. In order to encourage infertility patients to donate eggs private clinics started offering economic inducements, by waiving certain costs of treatment if they would agree to ‘share’ their eggs with others.[1]

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