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October 19, 1935


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the John C. Oliver Memorial Research Foundation of St. Margaret Memorial Hospital.

JAMA. 1935;105(16):1237-1241. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760420007002

Sterility is to be defined as the inability of a couple to effect or accomplish a pregnancy. This is a better working definition than that which includes women who abort habitually, or those, later in pregnancy, whose fetuses regularly die in utero, because a woman who is able to conceive is not actually sterile. Moreover, this definition shares the responsibility between wife and husband, as is proper, but should be modified by stating that a mating cannot be considered sterile until after one year of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy.

The term primary sterility is applied to marriages from which no pregnancy has resulted, and secondary sterility to those in which, after one or two pregnancies have occurred, further conception becomes apparently impossible.

Absolute sterility is that condition in which anatomic or genetic faults or pathologic changes make pregnancy impossible, at least for the time being.

In relative sterility, pregnancy is

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