Would-Be Test-Tube Mothers of the 1930s

1939: Having filed for divorce from her husband, Mrs. Virginia Cleary announced that she was seeking a "perfect specimen of manhood" in order to father a "test tube" baby with her. Never mind that the technology for this didn't exist, and wouldn't for another four decades.

She consulted with a doctor to determine what qualities the father of her "eugenic baby" would need to have:

  1. Between 28 and 32 years of age;
  2. Athletic in type, preferably light-haired;
  3. Unmarried, good habits, moderate in smoking and drinking;
  4. Strong, well-formed features;
  5. Strong personality, good ancestral background;
  6. Weight between 160 and 175 pounds.

San Francisco Examiner - Apr 26, 1939

Inspired by the example of Mrs. Cleary, Jean Gordon came forward and announced that she too wanted to mother a "test tube baby."

Des Moines Tribune - Apr 28, 1939

     Posted By: Alex - Sun Sep 25, 2022
     Category: Babies | 1930s

Women have been doing this informally since the dawn of time - looking for the best they can get to provide and protect. The modern term for it is "hypergamy". These two women were just open about it.
Posted by Patrick on 09/25/22 at 07:13 AM
I'm not sure if the term "test tube baby" applies here. I grew up on a farm and the cattle were impregnated often by a service the parents hired. As Patrick pointed out, the two women were open about it and that was what attracted the attention. What's good for the cattle isn't necessarily good for humans.
Posted by KDP on 09/25/22 at 09:57 AM
What KDP said. The first article conflates artificial insemination with "test tube baby." I guess it sounds better than "turkey baster baby." When IVF (in vitro fertilization) became a reality in the late 1970's, the media sued the term "test tube baby" more accurately.
Posted by ges on 09/25/22 at 03:14 PM
Sounds like she wanted a good aryan baby.
Posted by F.U.D in Stockholm on 09/26/22 at 01:30 AM
"Sued" in my earlier comment should be "used" of course.

It's interesting that she didn't specify a height requirement. Somebody who weighs 160-175 pounds could be obese if he's short enough.
Posted by ges on 09/27/22 at 09:36 PM
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