Men’s Responses to Infertility in Late Medieval England

  • Catherine RiderEmail author


This chapter explores the ways in which medieval English men were presented as responding to infertility, focusing particularly on the evidence provided by collections of medical recipes. These recipes survive in large numbers from the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, and they offer a variety of treatments to help couples conceive children, or conceive a son in particular. They also shed light on who was deemed responsible for seeking treatment: the man, the woman, or the couple jointly. Using as a case study one widely circulated recipe collection, the Liber de Diversis Medicinis (Book of Diverse Medicines), this chapter argues that although it was rare for medical recipes to discuss male infertility explicitly, men were expected to play a role in seeking out and administering fertility remedies, either alone or more often with their wives.


Male infertility Medical recipes Responsibility 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of ExeterExeterUK

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