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Misconceptions, Oddities and little known facts about Embryology
Episode 1327th May 2022 • International IVF Initiative Podcast • The International IVF Initiative
00:00:00 00:31:50

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Welcome to the latest episode of the I3 podcast where we’re going to be discussing a recent session held by I3 on Misconceptions which discussed a number of curious oddities within the studies of Embryology. It was called Misconceptions and we highly recommend you rewatch it to, scroll down for the link.

During the session there was a talk from Dr. Sourima Shivhare who is a Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) registered Senior Clinical Embryologist, working at The Centre for Reproductive and Genetic Health, London. She is also a lecturer and external assessor on the MSc in Clinical Embryology (University of Oxford). Dr Shivhare spoke in more detail to Giles Palmer  about her insights from her studies, following on from a paper Giles had told her about by John Wallington, which debated the origins of Embryology.

The paper highlights how common European names such as Aristotle and Hippocrates shouldn’t be the only ones mentioned and Dr Shivhare discussed with Giles about her surprise at finding out that the concept of conception and embryology existed much earlier in one of the oldest scriptures. 

What was discussed: 

  • Papers that have come out of Indian mentioning embryology in ancient scriptures and in the Koran, however, it is John Wallingford’s paper that mentions them
  • Names within standard textbooks such as Aristotle, and Hippocrates - all-white European 
  • How much of the history of Embryology is actually studied in training
  • Currently, the definition of science is based on evidence - so can religious scriptures be considered primarily as they are then translated, meaning we can’t check for accuracy. 
  • Hippocrates - Father of Medicine 500 BC
  • The Veydic Period between 1500 - 300 BCE and the oldest scripture mentioning the development of the embryo in the womb,  mention within 24 hours something happening and the ‘bubble’ alluding to blastocyst. 
  • Twin conception mentioned within the papers
  • 17th Century - in Europe talking about pre-formations, before that in Asia conclusions on this development was being discussed.
  • We shouldn’t get bogged down that these are religious texts as that is how words were spread at that time
  • How the definition of religion has also changed vastly over the centuries   - more like a way of life rather than following a deity. 
  • Great minds were often religious—unity between religion and science. 

You will also hear the after-party which took place after the session. 

Speakers include: Dr Don Rieger- Oddities in Reproductive Biology, Dr Sourima Biswas Shivhare- A little Less Eurocentric, Modestly Universal View of the History of Embryology and Dr Shubhangi Gangal - The Story of Subhash Mukhopadhyay

Watch the Misconceptions session here

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