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Early development

Introduction

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This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Human Biology and Health (SK220) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

This unit looks at the human being in the context of an individual life cycle, examining some of the processes that contribute to the formation of a new person. After a brief discussion of historical ideas about human conception, and about contraception to the present day, we look at the cells involved in the conception and development of a new individual. Gamete production (that is, production of mature cells able to unite with another in sexual reproduction) in both men and women is introduced and the role gametes in fertility and, when things go wrong, infertility is explained. We then discuss the early development of a new individual, along with some thoughts on women's experience of pregnancy.

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