~*~ (isilweth) wrote in little_details,

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Infertility Information Post WWII USA

Setting: United States, Kansas and New York; Post World War II (1945-1955-ish)
Characters: Married childless couple in their late twenties to late thirties with access to internationally renowned physician. Male is a chemist, female is a former military research assistant.

This couple eventually adopts a child after trying for years to conceive. I need to know what sort of information would be available to them about conception and fertility from their highly respected doctor during their years of trying. Also what sorts of information would culturally be assumed to be true? What would their doctor advise (e.g. track ovulation cycles, optimize PH levels, sexual positions)? Would the male's career as a chemist be suspected of having an adverse effect on conception? Would she have been blamed entirely? Was infertility or "childlessness" commonly discussed in close friendships? Were there books available on the subject? If so, what would they have said?

So far, I've found a book, Barren In The Promised Land and an article in the The International Journal of Aging and Human Development, Women of the 1950s and the "Normative" Life Course. My local library has neither and I'd rather not have to purchase either for just a few paragraphs. I did find a passage in Alternatives to Infertility indicating that societal pressure was entirely on the woman, but this New York Times article (ca. 1950) appears to disagree citing ten years of research into male sterility. There is also an article (ca. 1950) blaming the couple's "tension" and one (ca. 1958) announcing pamplets available at Planned Parenthood on the causes of childlessness and on charting a woman's menstrual cycle. I would love to know if that sort of information was available earlier in the decade.

Searched: Google, Wikipedia, Books24x7, Proquest, and NY Times Historical Newspapers using search terms: "fertility", "family planning", "childless", "infertility", "sterile couples" with parameters including "United States", "post World War II", "1940s", and "1950s"

Thanks in advance for any help you may provide.
Tags: ~medicine: historical, ~medicine: reproduction

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