featured post – “Glitch” – by iMags

Our feature post this week talks about something I have just begun to think about. Maggie who writes at iMags wrote a piece, “Glitch” that talks about the idea that somewhere in our genetic history there was an infertility glitch that developed and then passed down. It is known that there is a genetic link for PCOS, but not an as yet proven hereditary link. (I won’t go all science-y, here and perhaps SRB can break down some of the science for us in the comments, but regardless there are no good studies that look at infertility and hereditary, mostly because we are just now entering a time when we can look back at accurate medical records.)

Maggie writes,

 “I often think I’m a glitch. Maybe my code just wasn’t written pristinely, or somehow got shifted along the way…I like to think maybe my infertility is a glitch. Or maybe infertility in general, is a glitch. Somewhere along the way, our genetic code got a slight flaw, or at some point, that code has become tainted- and maybe that taint is spinning out of control as more and more families are struggling with infertility.”

I had just started to think about this idea myself because I recently sat down with my Dad and went through his family tree. And as we went through it, every branch, every generation, had a married couple who never had children and one who struggled for years to have just one. As I looked at that family tree, my mind was just blown. Infertility is today a huge struggle personally and publicly, but think about fifty, sixty, one-hundred years ago, to be a woman and not produce a child, and more specifically a male heir? Looking at my family tree, there has to be infertility in it, I would think there is statistically very little chance that a non-infertile married couple would never have a child throughout the course of their life in the time period of the 1850s-1950s.

Maggie discusses her idea about infertility being originally an environmental issue that then possibly became an inherited trait and what an overwhelming task it would be to research it:

“What I really think, though, is that somewhere along the way, there was a glitch – maybe environmentally caused, that then BECAME an inherited genetic marker. It’s a big, huge hypothesis, I know. It’s so huge, in fact, I’m not even sure where or how to begin even researching such an idea.”

What would it change if infertility was seen as a hereditary? Would it guarantee more medical coverage for treatment? Would it become a socially more talked about and accepted issue? I don’t know. But what I do know is that looking over that family tree I made with my Dad, I suddenly felt a sense of connection, and sense that I wasn’t so alone. And I felt sad, sad for the couples in my family tree that wanted children so badly, and never could. I wish I could talk to them now, could tell them I know how they feel, and that I was so sorry they too struggled.

Please visit Maggie and read and comment on her post “Glitch.” As always, comments here are closed so you spread some comment love on Maggie’s blog.

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