Yesterday I saw the sentence "Infertile, Offspring Viable"

What does that even mean?

If the parents are infertile, then they can't have produced children in the first place. Does this have a different meaning in English?

Thank you. :)

  • 1
    Could you expand the quote and give us the source?
    – Jacinto
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 7:01
  • Answering really needs more context. However, "infertile" could refer to the offspring.
    – fixer1234
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 8:11
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because more context is needed.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 9:19
  • You may be interested in this answer on another question, which suggests that in the medical world fertility is to do with having children, whereas fecundity is to do with the ability to have children. Seems the wrong way around to me, but it might explain the phrase you have found.
    – AndyT
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 9:23
  • 1
    @AndyT Actually, that answer references a restricted usage in demographics, specifically fertility rate. In medical dictionaries, "fertility" is the capacity to conceive or to induce conception., which may be why that whole question may have seemed off to you, as it did to me. Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 15:47

1 Answer 1


No, your phrase (it is not a sentence, which may have caused some of the problem) means what you think it does. What is intended by 'the offspring of an infertile organism' is something that only reading the scientific paper would reveal. It might be, for example, that the 'mother' is unable to give birth, but viable offspring can result from a test-tube conception; whatever is meant, it is a scientific and not a linguistic problem.

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