Before commencing the discussion of the subject, it is necessary to make some definitions, with a view to avoiding the confusion which extensively prevails, from the neglect of the all-important definition of terms. I might be even more exact than I shall be, and excuse myself from adopting such a seeming improvement, on the ground that further refinement of definition would itself cause confusion in the present stage of advancement of our knowledge.
Absolute sterility, I shall hold to mean the condition of a woman who, under ordinary favourable cirumstances for breeding, produces no living or dead child, nor any kind of abortion.
Sterility, I shall hold to mean the condition of a woman who, under ordinary favourable circumstances for breeding, adds not even one to the population, or produces no living and viable child.
Relative sterility, I shall hold to mean the condition of a woman who, while she may or may not be absolutely sterile, while she may or may not be sterile, is, under ordinary favourable circumstances for breeding, sterile in relation to the circumstance of time; or, in other words, in relation to her age, and the duration of her married life.