I defined Health as a state of being well. And I defined Ilness as an acute state of being unwell. So my deciding factor with illness and health would be the state of being well or the state of being unwell, which can be tricky because “well” needs to be defined too and that has to be defined by each individual person in their own way. In my way I say the state of “well” is all about feeling like you should. But that leads to what “should” you feel. This will just lead to an infinite regress, so I say to solve this “well”, it’s just going to have to be defined by whoever is using these words.


I strongly believe that ideas come from everything and everywhere. The most important part of an idea is how you take it. For example, regarding my idea of creation, it was by God and we evolved from there with God’s guidance. This idea comes from my catholic upbringing and my love for science. The stereotypical ideas of creation are either God or evolution, but I like to think it was both and that’s just my ‘idea’ of creation. Which brings me to how we get these ideas. I believe we get them from everywhere and everything, yes, but I also believe that you as a person are highly influenced by nature or nurture. My upbringing was catholic so I believe in God and Jesus by nurture. By nature, living in America, I have a more laid back sense of being Catholic. I’m more laid back because of my science background which was not by nurture but rather it was nature, my environment of science.


I chose Infertility because I’m inclined to believe this can be both an illness and a disease. I think a disease is something that is chronic and I also believe that a disease is something severe, whereas an illness is acute and isn’t as severe. But I also have to confess at first I believed this to be a disease, but my real confession would be that am I bias. I fear infertility, so I may consider this a disease because of my fear of being infertile. I believe my fear comes from my baser instinct, as a woman, to have children. Which brings me to the second condition I chose Erectile dysfunction. I believe this is an illness brought on by age but a man who fears having this condition may say otherwise. He may say this is a disease because of the severity, but is his opinion of severity heightened by fear? My personal opinion is that both of these conditions are illnesses if acute and a disease if chronic. If brought on by age or accident it’s an illness, if you are born with it it’s a disease. The devastation behind these conditions can change from person to person but when it comes down to it these conditions are mostly categorized as illnesses, in my opinion.

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Rei Gjeci says:

    Hi Angela. As you mentioned above, to you, infertility means a type of disease because of your fear of not being able to have your own offspring. I fear the same and I would agree that in our culture infertility is a common issue that individuals and couples face every day. In our Western culture infertility is viewed as a medical condition and not a social problem. We have the choice to either reproduce or not and in our society there are no restrictions on how many children you can have or what sex your child should be. The definition of infertility that we understand, which is the inability to give birth, varies in other cultures. In some place it could mean the inability to have the number of children that the cultural norms allow. Infertility could also mean not being able to have any sons. Many social norms such as marriage and divorce can also influence what infertility means to certain cultures. For example, in some southern African countries, women who have given birth to one or more children can still be considered childless, since in those cultures in the case of divorce the children automatically stay with their father. This is clearly different from our society because in divorce cases, couples go to court and it is judges who decide the custody of a child. Therefore I believe social norms have a big impact in our definitions of certain conditions such as infertility.

    Evens, McDonald, Emily. “A Global Perspective on Infertility: An Under Recognized
    Public Health Issue.” MPH theses., The University of North Carolina at Chapel
    Hill, 2004.

  2. Rei Gjeci says:

    I also want to add that in our culture we have biomedicine, which allows different ways to reproduce even if a couple is infertile. Technology such as IVF has made it possible for couples to have children. Other non-Western cultures might not have these resources and face the issue of infertility in different ways.

  3. Cheyenne Benyi says:

    Hi there Angela!

    I think infertility is a sad illness as well as disease. Some women believe that not being able to conceive a child takes away meaning from their lives. In the Ugandan society, women are not technically accepted by society unless they are a mother. Worldwide today, infertility is affecting fifteen percent of couples. In sub-Saharan Africa alone, secondary infertility is affecting up to thirty percent of women! Secondary infertility would be defined as not being able to conceive after your first pregnancy. This means that women are not able to produce the amount of children that they actually want. This is actually a natural way of population control. If you look at China’s one child rule, Africa is similar because some women can only have one child. On the other hand, fifty percent of all infertility cases are caused by the male. In this African society, a male may not be please with infertility and may chose to even divorce his wife because of this problem. I know infertility is different in any society you look at, but I think its a sad problem wherever you go. It takes away your freedom to have your own family.

    -Cheyenne Benyi “WHO | Mother or nothing: the agony of infertility.” 1996. (accessed 7 Jul 2013).

  4. Peter Ferszt says:

    After researching infertility, this disease appears to be culturally defined and viewed very differently in other countries. While in most Western nations children are important,in many other nations, especially developing ones, childbearing and family are viewed as social status symbols. Being a mother or father gains an individual respect in his or her community, as well as giving them stronger family ties, both encouraged by pronatalism. This is especially true in Asian nations, specifically China, which we were informed about in my ANP 201 class. Historically being a patrilineal society, males are often viewed more important than females. When a female marries, she relinquishes her old family for her husband’s. Pressure to bear children on daughters is very heavy, and often necessary to be accepted by their new family. If one cannot bear children, they are often stigmatized and consider a social outcast, as much of the blame is put on them. It is not due to disease, malnutrition, or any other physiological factors, as viewed in may Western nations where the afflicted is not to blame, but rather the person is at fault. In addition to this, economic hardship is common. Developing nations often have high birth rates to produce many children to weather common infant deaths. Families require many children to help families surviving by either working or contributing in family farms/businesses. Without retirement and 401K plans, parents also rely on their children to care for them in old age. Adults who cannot conceive are robbed of this safety net and are sure to face hardship. Under these societal pressures, some of the worst effects of infertility are psychological, as the individual has feelings of desperation and failure. Other countries also treat this disease in very different ways. In most Western nations IVF and sperm donations are the go to, but in Eastern medicine, yoga, tai chi, and Chinese herbs are often used with male infertility to increase sperm count and other sexual dysfunctions.

    National Society for Biotechnology Information. “Eastern medicine approaches to male infertility.” Accessed July 7, 2013.

    Journal of Translational Medicine. “Consequences of infertility in developing countries: results of a questionnaire and interview survey in the South of Vietnam” Accessed July 7, 2013.

    Wikipedia. “Infertility.” Accessed July 7, 2013.

  5. Chase Taylor says:

    I believe that it is very important to analyze infertility as a condition that affects males in addition to females. In my personal opinion in our culture, infertility often seems to assert itself as a much more intense issue with greater cultural stigma if it is the fault of the female. That is not the case however in some other cultures specifically Africa. I read an interesting paper on African cultural infertility and the subsequent cultural reactions and emotions. A great number of people in the African population struggle to comprehend the biological aspects of infertility and sometimes obtain alternative explanations to why infertility exists such as unclean body parts or bad mixing in the body. Other more abstract reasons for male infertility were ideas that are more commonly associated with tribal aspects including; spiritual reasons, witchcraft, as well as unapproved relationships. Many of the men visited a traditional healer who rationed out herbal remedies and other treatments to filter out the blood. I thought it was interesting that in the culture the men were looked down on because of their lack of children to a tremendous extent. Some members of the tribe for some infertile participants even considered the male to be more of a women then a man. I find the African approach to infertility outlined in this paper to be in stark contrast to our Western (North American) approach.

    Dyer, S. J., N. Abrahams, N. E. Mokoena, and der Spuy ZM van. 2004. “‘You are a Man because You have Children’: Experiences, Reproductive Health Knowledge and Treatment-Seeking Behaviour among Men Suffering from Couple Infertility in South Africa.” Human Reproduction 19 (4): 960-7.

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