Men could be held respon­si­ble for the fail­ure to pro­duce chil­dren as far back as medieval times, a new study of med­ical and reli­gious texts has shown. The analy­sis of pop­u­lar med­ical and reli­gious books by the Uni­ver­si­ty of Exeter shows that from the 13th cen­tu­ry, wide­ly-cir­cu­lat­ed med­ical texts rec­og­nized the pos­si­bil­i­ty of male infer­til­i­ty, includ­ing steril­i­ty and “unsuit­able seed.” A urine test to deter­mine if a hus­band or a wife was to blame for the absence of chil­dren in a mar­riage was even devised, and med­ical recipes drawn up as a treat­ment for men. It has been wide­ly assumed that women in medieval Eng­land were blamed for child­less­ness and reli­gious dis­course about infer­til­i­ty focused on women. If men were deemed respon­si­ble for the fail­ure of a cou­ple to pro­duce chil­dren, this was in cas­es of sex­u­al dys­func­tion where it was obvi­ous the man was unable to have inter­course. But Cather­ine Rid­er, a his­to­ri­an at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Exeter, found doc­tors of the peri­od rec­og­nized that sex­u­al­ly-active men might not be able to con­ceive a child, and evi­dence that medieval medics were aware of this when treat­ing child­less cou­ples. Rid­er found evi­dence that in 13th-15th cen­tu­ry Eng­land male infer­til­i­ty […]