Why was George Eliot Childless?
The renowned English novelist George Eliot (Marian Evans) began living openly with George Henry Lewes, a married man separated from his wife, in 1854 when she was thirty-five. Lewes had had several children with his wife, and also adopted two of her children fathered by other men, which apparently constituted condoning her adultery and thus barred him from divorcing her. Eliot and Lewes allegedly lived as husband and wife in all but legal status until his death nearly a quarter-century later.
So is it known why Eliot apparently never became pregnant by Lewes? I have never seen an Eliot biographer address this question. Was it just the luck of the fertilization draw? Certainly, many women in the mid-nineteenth century bore their first child after the age of 35---it wasn't as common as it is today, but it wasn't all that unusual either. Did Eliot and Lewes deliberately try to avoid conceiving? If so, why?