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Why the phrase 'demon sperm' matters

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

Editor’s Note: The Endometriosis Foundation of Houston is a nonpartisan nonprofit. Our board members refrain from posting political commentary. However, when we see blatant misinformation regarding a topic related to endometriosis and other gynecological conditions, we do take issue. We have a responsibility to our community to provide accurate information and discourage the spread of misinformation.

Like many Americans, we watched in horror on Tuesday as the phrase #demonsperm began trending on Twitter; We were shocked when a Houston doctor made unsubstantiated claims on a controversial medical treatment and we were appalled when we later learned this same doctor has made bizarre claims in the past regarding endometriosis and other gynecological diseases being caused by having sexual intercourse with demons and witches.

Not only is this obviously false, it’s dangerous. Women, people of color and transgender people, already face an uphill battle when seeking treatment for endometriosis and other diseases. Many of us have fought aggressively to be taken seriously. We’ve sought doctor after doctor to be better understood, to be validated. For our pain and voices to be heard. We've been gas lit, lied to and outright dismissed. Endometriosis is not just a bad period and it certainly is not caused by demon sperm. These dangerous opinions make it difficult for people to obtain proper care.

Unfortunately, there is not enough research on endometriosis and unless proper treatment through a specialist is sought, most people will continue to suffer with the illness all their lives. Many people do not have access to proper medical care or the resources to seek that care.

When a doctor makes an absurd claim about the cause of a disease, it’s not funny. We can laugh and make sarcastic jokes, but that does little to help the many people who are still struggling with endometriosis. It does nothing to help further the spread of accurate, science-based information on a disease that is already misunderstood.

We must continue to demand better healthcare from our medical providers and hold them accountable when they spout erroneous information.

Our goal as an organization has always been to raise awareness about endometriosis, the truth about its origin and to provide resources to those seeking proper treatment. But our job becomes more difficult when we’re forced to tackle these types of fallacies every day.

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