‘Men seeking monkey-glands’: the controversial xenotransplantations of Doctor Voronoff, 1910–30

‘Men seeking monkey-glands’: the controversial xenotransplantations of Doctor Voronoff, 1910–30

Catherine Rémy

« ‘Men seeking monkey-glands’: the controversial xenotransplantations of Doctor Voronoff, 1910–30 ». In French History (2014) 28 (2): 226-240

The French surgeon Serge Voronoff (1866–1951) made headlines in Paris during the 1920s for his attempt to transplant primate testicles in men lacking ‘virility’. Voronoff was known in Great Britain too, and a comparison of debates in France and Great Britain on the transplantation of primate glands reveals two different contexts of reception and innovation. In France, Voronoff’s experiments were generally accepted and resulted in a light-hearted celebration of the mixture of human and animal species (although accompanied by a revival of racism, which associated primates with Africans). In Great Britain, by contrast, xenotransplantation was rejected in the name of animal rights and the purity of the human race.

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