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Publisher: Journals Gateway
The Journal of Interdisciplinary History (2021) 52 (2): 155–176.
Published: 01 September 2021
AbstractView article PDF
Although fertility has traditionally been viewed as the responsibility of women, recent studies suggest that reduced sperm function is a major cause of the recurrent pregnancy loss that affects 1 to 2 percent of couples. The reproductive and nutritional history of King Henry VIII indicates that 70 percent of the legitimate pregnancies attributed to Henry and his six wives resulted in miscarriage or stillbirth. By comparison, only 10 percent of the recorded pregnancies of the thirty-one noblemen closely associated with Henry had the same outcomes. Henry’s reproductive health likely contributed to the fertility problems for which his wives took the blame. The disregard of male infertility in Henry’s case may offer a clue to the reasons for the under-reporting of male reproductive health, then and now, to the detriment of both men and women.