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  Early Adulthood:
Biosocial Development
- Key Terms -

    Infertility - the failure to conceive a child after a year or more of intercourse without contraception

    Motile - active

    Ovulate- to release an egg from the ovary

    Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - a common result of recurring pelvic infections in women - often leads to blocked Fallopian tubes & infertility.
    Endometriosis - when fragments of the uterine lining grow on the surface of the ovaries or Fallopian tubes - can block the reproductive tract.

New Assisted Reproductive Techniques New

Ψ  In vitro fertilization (IVF) - a technique in which the ova are surgically removed from a woman and fertilized with sperm in the laboratory - after being fertilized, they inserted back into woman’s uterus
Ψ  Gamete Intra-Fallopian transfer (GIFT) or Zygote intra-Fallopian transfer (ZIFT) - inserting either sperm and unfertilized ova (gametes) or fertilized ova (zygotes) directly into the Fallopian tube


Ψ  Overall, 2 to 30% of all couples experience infertility. The U.S rate is about 15% because cultural practices postpone reproduction until after the most fertile ages.

Male Infertility

•  most common reason: do not produce a sufficient number of live, motile sperm (primary cause of infertility in ¼ of all infertile couples)
•  as men grow older, the number, shape, and motility of their sperm decline
•  men over 40 take three times longer to produce a pregnancy than men under 25
•  waiting at least three days between ejaculations is advisable to allow the sperm count to rise
•  anything that impairs normal body functioning reduces the number, shape, and motility of the sperm: like high fever, radiation, prescription drugs, environmental toxins, unusual stress, drug abuse, alcoholism, or cigarette smoke

Female Infertility

•  most common reason for infertility is failure to ovulate
•  another common reason is blocked Fallopian tubes - often caused by Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
•  reasons include all of the previously stated, plus being underweight and being obese
•  incidence of infertility rises steadily with age
•  another common problem, again age-related but not directly age-caused, is endometriosis

Medical Advances

•  minor physical abnormalities that cause infertility in the male are often correctable through surgery
•  in women inability to ovulate can be treated with drugs to stimulate ovulation, and blocked Fallopian tubes can often be opened surgically
•  surgery can also help with endometriosis
•  Assisted Reproductive Techniques

Human Growth & Development
Robert C. Gates