The vagina (vaginæ, plural), derived from the Latin word for sheath, is the tubular tract leading from the uterus to the exterior of the body in the female of mammals, or to the cloaca in female birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part of the oviduct.
"Vagina" is normally used in non-scientific parlence to refer to entirety of the female genitalia. This is inacurate however. It retains great cultural significance as the primary female sexual organ.
Human reproduction is the mechanism by which we perpetuate our species.
In order for human reproduction to occur, a male and female (man and woman) of the species must cooperate in the act of sexual congress. Most cultures enshrine this activity within a union we call marriage, a lifelong, legally sanctioned, bond between one man and one woman.
The sexual act serves to unite the male and female gametes, the sperm and egg, respectively. These gametes carry just one half of the genetic material (chromosomes) from each parent, and when they combine the new embryo contains a full set of chromosomes. The process of gamete combination is called fertilization, and takes place inside the woman's body, in the fallopian tubes or uterus. The embryo then attaches itself to the uterine lining, and is nourished by the woman's body while it develops. This development takes roughly nine months.
At the end of this process of protected development, what was once an embryo is now born as a new baby. Human babies are relatively helpless, and depend on the care and love of their parents in order to survive to maturity themselves.
Humans only reproduce sexually, that is, individuals are not able to reproduce alone by budding, parthenogenesis, or self-cloning as some species are capable of. In addition, human gender is fixed, unlike some species, females are not able to become male or vice versa to deal with homogenous populations of one gender.
Comment: I think I gave that a pretty good try. Human 18:18, 21 April 2007 (EDT)
I think that this article should start with some basic anatomy and physiology, i.e. the anatomy of the male and female reproductive organs and the production of gametes before we move into talking about coitus. I think that it's the objective description of coitus which presents the most problems but there's not reason why we couldn't just have that as a draft rather than all the anatomy and physiology associated with reproduction.
My other suggestion is that we separate our reproduction articles into achieving a zygote and then pregnancy because otherwise this article is going to be huge! (comment left by Kitsune at (14:41, 24 April 2007)
- Hey Kitsune, I was carefully trying to avoid explicit mention of genitalia or sexual acts in order to stay on the family friendly side of the line. By the way, can you sign your comments, either using four tildes like this : ~~~~, or using the button above to the right of the red circle crossed "W". Human 15:46, 24 April 2007 (EDT)