Saloma Miller Furlong
Author and Speaker

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Amish Infertility

Joan wrote: How do the Amish deal with infertility and how does this change their lifestyle by not having helping hands.


I do not honestly know how Amish deal with infertility. I would guess that it varies from one couple to another, and from one community to another. This is something that they would not necessarily talk about with others — it is one of those issues that is rather private for them. 


I doubt any of the Amish are willing to go through some of the modern methods that some families do, such as in vitro fertilization or fertility drugs. They would be more apt to adopt children, although some couples eventually reconcile with being childless, and become like second parents to others’ children. 


Because many Amish families have left farming, there seems to be less emphasis on the really big families. Or at least I am noticing that many of my first cousins are having fewer children than their parents did. Having 5, 6, or 7 children is more common now than 12, 14, or 16 children in my home community, which was commonplace when I was growing up.


What is interesting about genetics among the Amish, is just as there are some things that are quite common because of the concentrated gene pool, there are other things that are less prevalent than in mainstream culture. Infertility seems to be one of them. It would be interesting to do a study to find out how many Amish couples are unable to have children. I would guess it would be a smaller ratio than in mainstream culture.


Thank you, Joan, for your question.



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