University of Hertfordshire

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  • 907225

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)311-332
JournalSocial History of Medicine
Journal publication date1 May 2016
Volume29
Issue2
Early online date21 Dec 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

Abstract

Scholars of early modern gender and medicine have tended to focus on the female infertility. Discussions that have included male reproductive failure have considered sexual ability and impotence, rather than infertility. Nonetheless, fathering children was important to male social standing and the fulfilment of their patriarchal roles. This article will demonstrate that male infertility was not absent from medical literature, but appeared in a variety of settings including tests for infertility, seventeenth-century handbills for treatments and surgical treatises. It will show that medical and surgical writers accepted that men could be rendered infertile, but still sexually capable, in a variety of ways. Moreover, the article will demonstrate that seventeenth-century surgeons expected male readers to be concerned about their reproductive potential and constructed a framework of efficacy based upon their ability to secure on-going fertility.

Notes

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial reproduction and distribution of the work, in any medium, provided the original work is not altered or transformed in any way, and that the work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact journals.permissions@oup.com

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