Full text: Problems in eugenics

472Appendix.Wagenen. 5.—Effects oft Sterilization. 
Many thousands of sterilization operations have been performed by 
surgeons in both private and institutional practice. As a rule, these 
operations have been for purely pathological reasons, and it has been found 
difficult to obtain authentic records of the more remote effects of these 
operations. As a matter of fact, records of the effects of such operations 
extending over a long period of time do not exist to any great extent. As a 
rule, when a patient has made a satisfactory recovery, the case is dismissed, 
and the surgeon has no further knowledge of it. The committee has, 
however, begun the collection of first hand records of cases of sterilization 
of different types on different types of people at different ages, and in 
different conditions. The following table explains the nature of the types 
of operations, and the sorts of people operated upon, the case histories of 
which it will be necessary to secure in numbers great enough to justify 
generalization as to the immediate and remote effects. 
The committee hopes to secure at first hand some 30 or more cases 
describing in detail the effects of the operation in each of the several group- 
combinations above charted. It will be seen that this calls for a grouping 
into 40 classes, and that some twelve hundred case histories must be secured. 
Up to the present time (June 26, 1912) the committee has secured over one 
hundred such histories scattered over the grouping above mentioned. Of 
this number, however, 31 are of criminalistic males vasectomized after 
puberty. It was this group of cases that enabled the committee to make 
the generalizations in connection with the W------------ case above reported. 
There are accessible, of course, cases of sterilization in medical literature, 
but since this study seeks primarily the effects of the operation on so many 
different traits, the principal data used must come from first hand observa­ 
tions. It might be of interest to record that the cases thus far reported 
verify the general conception of the effects of sterilization, namely, that 
castration or ovariotomy in young individuals stops development of the 
secondary sexual characteristics. That a sterilizing operation of any sort in 
adults effects but little change in habits and structure previously formed. 
One case history is of a man injured at the age of 11 years in such a 
manner that the testicles ceased growing. The sex instinct is entirely absent 
in this man now 54 years of age. The pubic and axillary hair did not 
develop. No beard grew on the face. The hair on the head was fine, the 
voice tenor. The general appearance was neither decidedly that of a man 
nor a woman. This same man had a nephew who was injured in the South 
African War, and was castrated at 21 years of age. As far as our records 
go, it appears that this individual did not experience a diminution of sex 
instincts nor a change in sex habits, nor any marked change in mind or body. 
It also appears from several case histories that ovariotomy does not diminish 
sex instincts of erotic women; that eight cases of castration of feeble-minded

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