Sterility Among Hybrids

Sterility Among Hybrids

The Canadian Medical Association Journal
Volume 16, Number 6 (June 1926)
page 661-665

Frank N. Walker, M.B.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

In choosing sterility to demonstrate some of the metabolic aberrations of hybrids, I do so because in this condition a certain number of difficult variables can be easily eliminated. We are taught that all physiological variations are congenital or acquired. Since sterility cannot be laid at the door of heredity it must be acquired. We are likewise taught that all complaints of the human body are either functional or organic. In this discourse I do not propose to discuss any form of sterility that has an anatomical cause from the pathological viewpoint. It has been estimated that in the United States there are to-day nearly two million sterile couples who are still at the age of childbearing, and it is needless to say that in miiany cases it is the disappointment of a lifetime, especially to those who take their citizenship seriously. Since I intend to discuss here only functional sterility, allow me to review briefly some of the outstanding cases of this condition found in animal breeding.

The common mule has been recognized as sterile since the days of Homer, though Columnella quotes from Mago, a Carthaginian agriculturist, that in his country the fecundity of the mule was a frequent event, although it was regarded as a prodigy in Greece and Italy. He adds that these mixed mules do not cross again with *one another, but only with the primitive species that gave them birth. Others have discussed the fact of sterility among mules in the northern climates. I am inclined to put some credence in this statement with regard to geographic latitude, as I will mention later that calcium metabolism is an important factor of infertility.

…Turning now to human beings I would begin by stating that the mulatto is not so fertile as the pure black or pure white types. Statistics show that where the coloured population of the United States has the largest number of mulattoes, the birth rate is much lower than where the coloured population is pure black. Physically the mulatto is inferior to either of the races that gave him cause. Physical deterioration may have its exceptions in racial crosses. Sulivan states that “the part Hawaiian is an inmprovement on the HIawaiian stock although the birth rate is lower”. It has been mentioned that sterility is rather common in Jewish-Gentile marriages. The cross between the European and the Australian aborigines is almost sterile…

…The harm done by racial mixtures I believe is much wider than the scope of this paper. Its importance as a factor in asthma, eczema and spasmophilia are beyond question to me. So wrapped up it seems are racial mixtures with the ailments of mankind, that I have almost reached the stage that I would dogmatically assert that “If you show me a family where the doctor is metaphorically always on the doorstep, I will show you a family of profound racial mixture.”

Let us, as the trained interpreters of the ills of mankind delve more deeply into the reasons. that bring sorrow to so many households. Whether it be the disappointment of a sterile marriage, the disheartening result of child after child being born dead, or the financial embarrassment because it is too often sterile individuals who set a community’s social pace, it matters not. The world and civilization did not reach its present status by sterility either relative or absolute. There is a cause, and thecause can be found, providing we jointly put forth our efforts to interpret our experiences, and at all times bear a virtuous tolerance toward those who attempt to assist, us, even though we differ from them in minor details…

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