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Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2003 Dec 20;147(51):2529-35.

[The haematogenous reproduction theory of Aristotle].

[Article in Dutch]


From the very beginning, man has been fascinated by the continuous coming into being of new life on Earth. Archeological and anthropological data indicate that in prehistoric times, reproduction was attributed to a fertility goddess that required no sperm for this purpose. In the early historical Middle East it was believed that a godly being brought about pregnancy by using male and female semen. It was the merit of the Greek philosophers of the 6th-3rd century B.C. to realize that reproduction was governed by natural laws. Several theories were developed to understand how reproduction could occur. The haematogenous theory of reproduction, developed by Aristotle, has received the most attention. The essence of this theory is that the male sperm, with a haematogenous origin, causes the development of an embryo from menstrual blood present in the female uterus. The theory survived about 2000 years, with modifications, and was also introduced into Christianity. It was only about 150 years ago that the reproduction theory based on hypotheses was changed into a reproduction science based on facts.

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