History of Infertility

"An article mentioning Marie Antoinette's difficulty becoming pregnant."
For as long as men and women have been practicing the procreation dance there have been some who have suffered with infertility. Though infertility is a very individual and personal struggle, it is important for couples to know that they are not alone.


  1. Interesting article although there is no evidence that Louis XVI had a phimosis. It was not mentioned at all in any of his medical records. It was just an assumption made by some of his biographers. Actually, more recent biographers think that the problem was with M-A herself, who may have had a narrowness of passage which Louis found difficult to penetrate.

  2. Very interesting story in the fertility article about men tying women to a chair and setting them on fire...that along with the story of Queen Mary reached me in the right places. How horrible for any woman to be abused in that way...what does this say about men who would do such things?

  3. Dear Elena Maria,

    Thank you for your comment on my page. The article referenced on this blog was written 12 years ago. At that time, scholars were still debating whether Louis XVI had phimosis or hydrocele. There are multiple sources for both theories. In the article, I wrote:

    Louis XVI, King of France and spouse of the flamboyant and sensual Marie Antoinette, suffered from infertility. Louis did not have a low sperm count, the most common factor in male infertility cases, but suffered from an "inability to penetrate." Medical scholars still debate whether the king suffered from hydrocele, a collection of fluid around one testicle, or phimosis, a condition that causes the foreskin of the penis to become painfully tight and restrictive. At any rate, for years the peoples of France angrily blamed the "Austrian whore" for not producing an heir. In fact, the French were so certain the fertility problem lie with Marie Antoinette they even wrote inflammatory pamphlets accusing her of lesbianism and instructing her on how to "properly perform."

    Since the "new" evidence about Marie Antoinette's "frigidity" did not come to light until a few years AFTER I wrote this article, everything I wrote was accurate at the time I wrote it.

    Further, it should be noted that Dr. George Androutsos, History of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ioannina, Greece wrote a book on the History of Urology wherein he indicates the infertility problem was the fault of Louis XVI. His book was published the same year as the article you referenced.

    Like you, I have made the life and times of Marie Antoinette my passion and area of serious study for many years now (35 to be precise). Since the day I created LET THEM EAT CAKE (one of the first English language websites dedicated to Marie Antoinette), I have taken great pains to provide accurate information. I usually provide footnotes and try to avoid regurgitating or offering little blurbs.

    Thank you for drawing attention to that article and for visiting my blog.

    All the best,
    Leah Marie Brown

  4. Thirtytwodegrees - Sadly, abusive men have existed for many, many generations. Knowing that others suffered before us does not make it easier, but it makes us stronger. All the best.

  5. Thank you for posting a link to this article. You might have written it several years ago but the fact remains that infertility is a painful, isolating problem for many couples. Articles like yours help them to feel less alone.

  6. Thank you for posting a link to this article. It was interesting to learn how many royals have had to deal with infertility issues. I appreciate that you explore each topic you write about on this blog. So many other Marie Antoinette blogs merely slap a painting on their page with a one or two sentence explanation.

  7. I found your article on Babyzone while searching for information on infertility, then I googled you and ended up here. I have been experiencing some problems with fertility and your article helped me put it into persective. Thank you.


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