"destroy the fertility of," 1690s (in reference to soil), from sterile + -ize; of living things from 1828. Meaning "render free of microorganisms" is from 1878. Related: Sterilized; sterilizing.
sterilize ster·il·ize (stěr'ə-līz')v. ster·il·ized, ster·il·iz·ing, ster·il·iz·es
To make free from live bacteria or other microorganisms.
To deprive a person or an animal of the ability to produce offspring, as by removing the reproductive organs.