Full text: Problems in eugenics

Exhibit C 52—53. 23 
Number of conceptions and conception losse>, by Dr. Agnes c 52 
Bluhm ; the exhibitor gives the following explanation— 
Hamburger’s material deals with 1,042 marriages of the labouring classes 
jii Berlin, with a total of 7,261 conceptions (an average of 6.97 conceptions 
for each woman); the material of Bluhm comprises 856 marriages of the 
wealthier and educated German middle and higher classes with a total of 
3,856 conceptions (averaging 4.50 conceptions to each woman). Hamburger 
has counted as conception losses only miscarriages, premature births, still­ 
births, or deaths from illness before the completion of the sixteenth year. 
Bluhm has included all those up to the twentieth year. Both have only 
included marriages which have been contracted at least twenty years back. 
As the births in these marriages apparently date back to twenty years, all 
living children are reckoned as survivors or conception results, even if they 
have not attained the sixteenth or twentieth year respectively. This has influ­ 
enced the result optimistically, but as it has done so with both authors alike, 
the comparison of their results is admissible. 
Figure i shows the conception losses in marriages of varying conception 
numbers (Curve A, Hamburger’s working-men’s families; Curve B, Bluhm’s 
well-to-do families); both curves confirm Hamburger’s words that “ the 
percentage of the survivors gets smaller in proportion as the conception 
number increases.” The mounting of Curve B in the families with ten births 
is probably a delusion brought about by a very small number. In the mar­ 
riages with eleven or more births there are lost with the well-to-do one 
quarter and with the working-classes nearly two-thirds af the conceptions up 
to the twentieth or sixteenth year respectively. 
Figure 2 represents the share which miscarriages and premature births 
have in the conception losses in marriages of different degrees of productive­ 
ness (Curve A, Hamburger; Curve B, Bluhm). Amongst the Berlin labouring 
classes on the average 17.89 per cent, of all conceptions are lost through mis­ 
carriage and premature birth; for the wealthier German families the figure 
is 7.59 per cent. 
Figure 3 shows the share which deaths and stillbirths have in conception 
losses. With the labouring classes it amounts on the average to 32.75 per 
•cent. (Curve A), and in the wealthier families to 10.55 per cent. (Curve B). 
Figure 4. To investigate whether the continuous decrease in the per­ 
centage of the survivors, going hand in hand with the increase of maternal 
conceptions, is caused by the constitutional inferiority of the offspring as the 
numerical position increases, Bluhm has established, in dealing with her 
material, the loss for each numerical position (first, second, third, etc., con­ 
ceptions respectively). If this were the case, Curve A, which gives the loss 
according to the frequency of conception in each marriage, would have to be 
identical with Curve B, which gives the loss of first, second, and third, 
•etc., conceptions, but this is by no means the case, for only at a very high 
numerical position of the conception the curves begin to be parallel. This 
proves that Hamburger’s “ the percentage of the survivors gets smaller in 
proportion as the conception number increases ” is not a biological law but 
only expresses a social phenomenon. With the increasing number of children 
there is a decrease in the value of each individual childlife. The mother 
is less careful about avoiding miscarriages ; she devotes, and must necessarily 
•devote, less care to each child ; and the risk of infectious diseases which are 
a frequent cause of death during infancy increases. 
How little the increasing mortality of the later born children 
up to the tenth child is based on a biological law is shown in 
Figure C 53. Numerical position of birth and infant mortality up 
to the age of five in princely families, by Ploetz; 463 seventh to 
ninth children show the same mortality as the 614 first born.C 52-1 
C 52-2 
C 52 4 
C 53

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