Moving Past Infertility

« Les vieux remèdes : pour guérir la stérilité », Publicité du laboratoire Paul Metadier, s.d.© Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé, René Descartes.“The Old Remedies: To Cure Sterility,” advertisement by the Paul Metadier laboratory, n.d.

Since historians were late in taking interest in the subject, and bioethicists have hardly encouraged them, the history of infertility is often limited to that of the “new reproductive technologies” (NRT) that have appeared since the 1970s. Observed over two centuries, the history of infertility in Europe more broadly demonstrates the decline of resignation to biological fate, and illustrates the growing propensity to avoid sorrow and accomplish one’s intimate aspirations.