When I used to practice midwifery, it never ceased to amaze me how otherwise intelligent women and men could be so ignorant of their partners ‘bits and pieces’ involved in the reproduction process.
I met a woman once who thought the scrotum was just a bag of skin, and believed the penis had a bone inside it! God knows how she managed to get pregnant, as her husband thought the clitoris was the woman’s belly button. I kid you not. This is absolutely true. Anyway, onto more serious matters which I hope will inform those of you trying for a baby.
To understand the physical processes of conception, pregnancy and birth, it is necessary to know how the female and male reproductive systems work.
As a child grows into an adult the reproductive organs develop to make possible the bearing or fathering of a baby. This stage is known as puberty. It often starts at about 11 to 13 years, usually earlier for girls than for boys. It can be much earlier or later, depending upon the individual. Factors such as heredity, social conditions, diet and race will all affect sexual development.
Your Baby Making Equipment
The woman has got:
two tubes about 10 cm (4 in.) long called the fallopian tubes (oviducts), one on each side of the uterus. The sperm swims along these to fertilise the egg.
two ovaries, which lie one on each side of the pelvis and are white and oval shaped. They produce and release eggs (ova), and also control the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone.
the cervix (neck of the uterus), which is at the lower end of the uterus. The cervix is usually closed, leaving only a small gap for the entrance of sperm, or exit of menstrual fluid.
the vagina, into which the cervix extends a short way. The vagina is a tube about 10-12 cm (4-5 in.) long leading to the surface of the body.
The external female reproductive organs are known collectively as the vulva, and consist of:
the mons pubis, a soft pad of fatty tissue covered in pubic hair, which lies in front of the pubic bone.
the labia, which are folds of skin enclosing the urinary opening and the vaginal opening.
the clitoris, which lies between the mons pubis and the urinary opening, and is of a sponge-like tissue that is very sexually sensitive. When sexually stimulated, blood is pumped into the tissue, causing the clitoris to enlarge.
And now for the man (You might need one of these if you want to get pregnant! )
He has got:
the testes (testicles), which are the male equivalent of the ovaries. They are contained in the scrotum, a pouch of skin below the pelvis. The testes constantly produce the sperm needed to fertilise an egg. They also produce the male sex hormone testosterone.
the sperm tubes (vas deferens), along which sperm produced by the testes travel.
the seminal vesicles, which store and secrete semen (seminal fluid). The semen is a nourishing fluid which carries the sperm down the penis and out of the body.
the penis usually hangs limply, and is of sponge-like tissue. When sexually stimulated, blood is pumped into the tissue, causing the penis to enlarge and harden into an erection.