Ever since ancient times the most important thing for man has been to make sure he has offspring. But since ancient times man has realized that it was not guaranteed.
The cartoon A Brief History of Sterility in Italy provides a quick overview of man’s attempts to solve the sterility problem over the centuries.
From the caveman all the way to ground-breaking scientific research, the video portrays a number of beliefs, as well as the failures and successes of scientists, through gags and exaggerations.
The parody of alleged (and utterly useless) remedies includes for example a couple whipping each other and presenting each other with unequivocal gifts during the Lupercalia festival in ancient Rome. Elsewhere in the video, a poor guy embarks on a long walk on his knees before an intercourse with his wife.
Amidst many difficulties, it was L. Spallanzani who carried out the first artificial insemination in frogs in 1777. In 1965 R. Edward managed to fertilise a human egg, which earned him the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 2010. The first in-vitro baby girl was born in 1978, thanks again to Robert Edwards, this time in collaboration with Patrick Steptoe. In 1983 Alan Trounson managed to freeze embryos; in 1989, A. Handyside carried out the first embryonic biopsy; finally, in 1992, G. Palermo, A. Van Steirteghem and P. Devroey developed the ICSI technique.
All over the world, a lot of babies have been born thanks to scientific research. And the research work goes on.