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Reproduction

  • By: Sue Kentlyn
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

If reproduction can be broadly defined as production of further members of the same species, then human reproduction is the production of members of the species homo sapiens, i.e., human children. In the process of producing children, parents also reproduce certain social structures, including gender roles, families, and kinship networks that are strongly influenced by aspects of culture, such as myths and traditions. Social structures are frequently regulated by political discourses, which in turn are continually being challenged by new technologies of reproduction and the innovations in social structures that they both enable and demand.

Fertilization

In purely biological terms, reproduction is the production of a new organism from the genetic material of a pre-existing organism. Sexual reproduction requires the involvement of two individuals, typically one of ...

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