Exceedingly large families can have a huge impact on a household’s ability to survive in the world, as the addition of each new person necessitates more time and resources. From a purely scientific and economic standpoint, having less children as a whole has directly resulted in a higher quality of life for each person. Combined with the fact that penicillin hadn’t been discovered yet, STIs such as syphilis and gonorrhea spread unfettered, as well as incurable diseases such as HIV and herpes.
Even after its invention, the inability to acquire things such as condoms or not knowing how to use them keeps infection rate of some diseases extremely high. In underdeveloped nations, millions of people live with HIV, accounting for a large percentage of cases worldwide. However, contraceptives have allowed us to make huge strides in preventing the spread of these diseases.
Very primitive forms of birth control were used in ancient times, including substances that are now known to be spermicides. Written evidence of condoms being used go as far back as the 1500s, but it wouldn’t be until the 1800s that its usage became more widespread. It is unknown whether or not they were used to prevent the spread of STIs, and it’s believed that the majority of people did not use them in that manner before knowledge of diseases became more widespread.
Culturally, the invention of the birth control pill has coincided and been instrumental towards the establishment of women’s rights. They were first mass produced for the public in the 50s thanks to the work of Gregory Pincus and John Rock. While the usage of contraceptives such as these have sparked fierce debate in the modern world, its importance towards the scientific growth of mankind is undeniable.