Human reproduction


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Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of healthy spermatozoa emerging from a cavity in the rete testis of the testes. Photo by Innerspace Imaging/Science Photo Library

Essay/
Human reproduction
The macho sperm myth

The idea that millions of sperm are on an Olympian race to reach the egg is yet another male fantasy of human reproduction

Robert D Martin

From ‘Amours Difficiles’ (Hard love stories); four stories of mothers and daughters. Eugenia and Violeta. Photo by Adriana Lestido / Agence VU
Essay/
Human reproduction
We are multitudes

Women are chimeras, with genetic material from both their parents and children. Where does that leave individual identity?

Katherine Rowland

The Ain Sakhri lovers figurine. This is the oldest known representation of sexual intercourse in the world, dated c10,000 BCE. Photo courtesy of the Trustees of the British Museum

Essay/
Human evolution
Sex makes babies

As far as we can tell, no other animal knows this. Did our understanding of baby-making change the course of human history?

Holly Dunsworth & Anne Buchanan

Photo by Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/GS
Essay/
Metaphysics
Bun or bump?

Does the mother contain the foetus or is it a part of her? On the metaphysics of pregnancy, and its ethical implications

Suki Finn

Photo courtesy Johan Bävman from his series 'Swedish Dads'.
Essay/
Family life
Latte pappas

Sweden’s hands-on dads represent an alternative male form forged by lowered testosterone and the potent hormones of attachment

Richard W Orange

Photo by Gallery Stock
Essay/
Human reproduction
The twin boom

The proportion of twins in the population has waxed and waned in human history. For the first time we understand why

Laura Spinney

Photo by Aeon

Essay/
Death
Nadia’s story

It is a decision that no parent should have to make: should we let our very sick baby die before she is born?

Ana Todorović

Photo by Peter Marlow/Magnum
Essay/
Family life
Is that my baby?

Sperm donation is socially acceptable but donor eggs still provoke a wave of unease about blood relations and motherhood

Amy Klein

Photo by Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Bioethics
Boys and girls alike

An un-consenting child, an unnecessary, invasive surgery: is there any moral difference between male and female circumcision?

Brian D Earp

Photo by Carey Kirkella/Gallery Stock
Essay/
Family life
Fertility fog

Women in their 30s and 40s exhibit a mix of wishful thinking and woeful ignorance when it comes to their fertility. Why?

Amy Klein

Foreskin Man to the rescue. Image courtesy Matthew Hess

Essay/
Human reproduction
The first cut

Most American boys are circumcised as a matter of course. Now, many of them feel violated. Should the practice be banned?

Rhys Southan

An Israeli child receives a polio vaccine in the southern city of Be’er Sheva August 5, 2013. Photo by Amir Cohen/Reuters

Essay/
Public health
Polio whack-a-mole

The great allies of infectious diseases are no longer poverty, nor dirt, but the global anti-vaccination movement

Keren Landsman

Counterintuitive as it sounds, extra testosterone can suppress sperm-cell production. Photo by Dennis Kunkel Microscopy/Corbis

Essay/
Human reproduction
Where’s the male Pill?

Many promising male contraceptives are in development, but none have come to market. What’s taking so long?

Jalees Rehman

Evelyn Bonabone at home. All photos by the author
Essay/
Human reproduction
Magic or medicine?

If you were a poor Ugandan mother with a desperately ill baby, would you turn to Western medicine or the village healer?

Brendan Borrell