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MARRIAGE AND GONORRHEA
Decision of Physician Regarding Marriage of Patients Infected with
Gonorrhea or Syphilis--Advisability of Certificate of Freedom
from Transmissible Disease--Premarital Examination as a Universal
Custom--When a Man Who Had Gonorrhea May Be Allowed to Marry--
When a Woman Who Had Gonorrhea May be Allowed to Marry--Antisepsis
Before Coitus--Question of Sterility in the Man Who Has Had
Gonorrhea Easily Answered--Impossibility of Determining Whether
the Woman is Fertile or Not.
For a man or a woman who has once suffered from gonorrhea or syphilis
to enter matrimony without having secured a competent physician's
opinion is a great responsibility. And a great responsibility rests
upon the shoulders of the physician who is called upon to give such an
opinion. For, a wrong decision--a wrong decision either way--that is,
permission to marry when permission should not have been granted or
refusal to give permission when permission should have been
granted--may be responsible for much future unhappiness and much
disease: disease of the mother and of the offspring. It may even be
responsible for death.
There is no easy, short road to a positive opinion. It requires a
thorough, painstaking examination at the hands of an experienced
physician, one thoroughly familiar with all the modern tests, to tell
whether it is safe for a man who once suffered from venereal disease
to enter the bonds of matrimony. Sometimes one examination is not
sufficient, and several examinations may be necessary; but, the
opinion of a conscientious, experienced physician may be relied upon,
and, if all men and women who once suffered from venereal disease
would seek for, and be guided by, such an opinion, there would be no
cases of marital infection, there would be no children afflicted with
gonorrheal ophthalmia, there would be no cases of hereditary syphilis.
I firmly believe that a time will come when all venereal disease will
have disappeared from the face of the earth. But, until that time
comes, it would be for the benefit of the race and of posterity if
people had to present a certificate of freedom from transmissible
venereal disease as a prerequisite to a marriage license. Custom is
often more efficient than law, and, if a premarital examination should
become a universal custom (and there are indications in this
direction), no law would be needed.
=When May a Man Who Had Gonorrhea Get Married?= For a man who once
suffered from gonorrhea to be pronounced cured and a safe candidate
for marriage, the following conditions must be present:
1. There must be no discharge.
2. The urine must be perfectly clear and free from shreds.
3. The secretion from the prostate gland, as obtained by prostatic
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