Washington married Martha Dandridge Custis in 1759. He was 26. She was a 28 year old widow
who had borne four children during her eight year marriage to Daniel Custis
Yet Martha never became pregnant during her 40-year marriage to Washington. Given her previous
it could well be concluded that the difficulty was not in her but in
her husband. However, [Washington,] the magnificent athlete, who possessed in abundance every
other physical prowess, could not altogether admit to himself that he was sterile. He believed,
even when approaching old age, that if Martha died and he became remarried to a "girl,"
he might father an heir. In the meanwhile, his lack was a grievous one.
Given the way the Custis children turned out
Washington may have been lucky. The United States may have been lucky, too. The lack of an
heir made it difficult to anoint Washington as King, which some elements favored at the time
There is speculation that the lack of an heir made it difficult for Washington to accept
an offer of Kingship
Washington's height, sterility, large hands, pockmarks, plus certain personality features
and even his dental problems have led to the suggestion he had a syndrome associated with an
XYY chromosome karyotype
A geneticist concludes, however, "although there does seem to be a strong case that George
Washington was affected with XYY syndrome, the evidence is just not conclusive"
There are also speculations
-- dismissed by some
-- that Washington had Klinefelter syndrome, which is associated with an XXY karyotype.
At least one historian believes that Martha was the cause of the marriage's childlessness
but his reasoning is unsupported and arrogant