Human Sexual Behavior Ch. 11
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In general, childless marriages are less stressful, and some studies show that they are happier and more satisfying than marriages with children, especially in the years following a first child’s birth. Not having to worry about providing for the physical and psychological needs of children can make a difference, because confl ict about who does what for the children is a major source of disenchantment for many couples. Note, however, that the reduced marital satisfac-tion after children may be because many unhappily married couples remain together because they have young children.
Increasing Likelihood of Conception
The techniques of extrauterine conception are referred to as assisted repro-ductive technology (ART). These include in vitro fertilization (IVF), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) and In gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT).
Women's Peak of Fertility
Women are at their peak of fertility during ovulation. During a "normal" 28 day cycle, this is usually around day 14. For longer or irregular cycles this is normally 14 days before the next period.
Factors Influencing Male Fertility
Low sperm count, trauma or damage to the testicles, drug and alcohol use and abuse can all affect male fertility.
For poor semen quality or quantity, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can result in pregnancy. ICSI involves injecting each harvested egg with a single sperm and is one of the advances in reproductive technology we discuss in the next section.
Ethical Dilemmas of Assisted Reproductive Technology
Ethical questions arise regarding selling embryos and paying women for their ova and men for their sperm.
Pregnancy Tests & HCG
The blood and urine of a pregnant woman contain the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin ( cohr- ee- AH- nik gonadotropin(cohr-ee-AH-nik goh- na- duh- TROH- pun) ( goh-na-duh-TROH-pun)( HCG), which is secreted by the placenta. Sensitive blood tests for HCG have been developed that can detect pregnancy as early as 7 days after conception. Commercially available at- home pregnancy urine or saliva tests can detect pregnancy shortly after a missed menstrual period. Because elective home pregnancy tests can yield both false- positive and false- negative results, a health- care practitioner should confi rm the results.
Reasons to Choose Abortion
Rape, unwanted pregnancy, financial responsibility.
Contraceptive Risk Taking & Unintended Pregnancies
Contraceptive risk taking— that is, not using contraceptives consistently or reliably, sometimes because of inconvenience, side effects of certain methods, or perceived low risk of pregnancy. Being under the infl uence of alcohol or drugs reduces judgment and greatly increases contraceptive risk taking, unless the woman is using a method such as the pill or IUD.
Sex During Pregnancy
Although changes of position may be necessary, sen-sual and sexual interaction can continue as desired dur-ing pregnancy, except in occasional cases of medical complications.
Substances Passing Through Placenta
Nutrient, oxygen, and waste exchange between the woman and her fetus occurs through the placenta. Sub-stances harmful to the fetus can pass through the pla-centa from the mother’s blood.
Smoking & Pregnancy
Smoking, alcohol, illegal drugs, and certain medications can severely damage the developing fetus.
Reasons for Cesarean
Cesarean birth is recommended in a variety of situations, including when the fetal head is too large to pass through the mother’s pelvic structure, when the mother is ill, or when there are indications of fetal distress during labor or birth complications, such as a breech presentation (feet or bottom coming out of the uterus first). Also, mutiple babies and age of mother.
Advantages of Nursing
Breast- feeding has many practical and emotional advantages. For the infant, breast milk provides a digestible food fi lled with antibodies and other immunity-producing substances. Research has revealed that babies who were breast- fed were less distressed than other infants when experiencing pain or stress. Breast- feeding through the 6th month also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome by about 50%. For the mother, breast-feeding can be a positive emotional and sensual experience and an opportunity for close physical contact with the baby. Nursing also induces uterine contractions that help speed the return of the uterus to its pre-pregnancy size.
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