Quantcast
Connect with us

The incredible story of how large quantities of nuns’ urine made fertility drugs possible

Published

on

Fertility drugs are one of the miracles of modern science. They work by using hormones to induce ovulation, a concept that was pioneered by the Italian Scientist Piero Donini in the late 1940s, while he was working for the Italian company that would eventually become Serono. As Quartz reports, he was the first scientist to purify the FSH and LH hormones to be used in fertility drugs.

ADVERTISEMENT

This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.

Donini discovered that these ovulation-inducing hormones can be found in urine of adult women—especially in women who have gone through menopause, because the body increases production of the FSH and LH hormones in an attempt to “jumpstart” ovulation. Donini dubbed the purified version of FHS and LS “Pergonal”—Italian for “from the gonads.”

But the identification of Pergonal did not immediately result in a drug being brought to market. It wasn’t until a decade later that Bruno Lunenfeld came across Donini’s research. Lunenfeld, an Israeli-educated student studying hormone therapy, was very interested in fertility medication because of a desire to help European Jews to increase their numbers after the Holocaust.

In an interview with Haaretz years later, Lunenfeld described how, after presenting his request to Serono’s board of directors for help finding 400 menopausal women to provide their urine daily over a long period, he ran out crying when the chairman told him: “Very nice, but we are a drug factory, not a urinal factory.”

But divinely inspired intervention was at hand.

ADVERTISEMENT

Serona board member Giulio Pacelli was an Italian aristocrat who just happened to be the nephew of Pope Pius XII. According to Lunenfeld: “Prince Pacelli gave exactly the same speech I had given 10 days earlier but at the end he added one sentence: ‘My uncle, Pope Pius, has decided to help us and to ask the nuns in the old-age home to collect urine daily for a shared cause.”

The Vatican soon began delivering nun urine by the truckload, with 10 Sisters providing enough pee for one treatment every 10 days. In 1962, the very first baby, a girl, was born in Tel Aviv thanks to the treatments made possible by Lunenfeld, Donini and the nuns’ urine.

By the 1980s, Serono needed 30,000 liters of pee per day to keep up with demand. Fortunately, the company began synthesizing the necessary hormones in the 1990s.

ADVERTISEMENT

This article was originally published by The Influence, a news site that covers the full spectrum of human relationships with drugs. Follow The Influence on Facebook or Twitter.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

‘Worst pain I’ve ever felt’: Diner employees in shock after getting maced by angry anti-masker

Published

on

Three employees at a Missouri pizza diner got maced earlier this week by a customer who was angry that they were asked to wear a face mask as a precondition of being served.

Local news station KMOV reports that a group of maskless people went into the Incredible Pizza Company in South St. Louis County on Sunday, where they were asked to leave because of their refusal to wear masks.

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Internet explodes watching Trump reduced to ‘global laughingstock’ in ‘soul-crushing’ interview

Published

on

Axios reporter Jonathan Swan interviewed President Donald Trump and it did not go well for the president. The internet is ablaze with astonishment over how the Australian journalist decimated Trump, as the clip below demonstrates.

"We're going to look at some of these charts," Trump, who is sitting in a very low chair, says to Swan.

"I'd like to," Swan replies.

Trump is fumbling with color printouts of charts that look like they were made for an elementary school class.

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Atlanta mayor tears into ‘narcissist’ Trump for ‘blasphemous’ claim he did more for Black America than John Lewis

Published

on

On CNN Tuesday, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tore into President Donald Trump for his suggestion in a new interview that he has done "more for Black Americans" than anyone else, during a discussion on the late civil rights leader John Lewis.

"What do you think about when President Trump says he personally has done more for Black Americans than anyone else?" said anchor Alisyn Camerota.

"He's delusional. He's a narcissist and he is delusional," said Bottoms. "The only person that believes that is him. He's done nothing for African-Americans in this country, and to speak that in the same sentence as speaking of John Lewis is almost blasphemous."

Continue Reading