14.0 Introduction

Where do babies come from?

The question of where babies come from is a topic that has inspired many myths and fables—from finding babies under cabbage leaves, to babies being flown by storks from caves, to would-be parents who lure the storks to their homes with candy.

Figure 14.1 Illustration of the European myth of where babies come from; a stork carrying a baby.


Of course all these stories are made up, by adults, to avoid telling children how babies are actually made. Why are adults afraid of telling children about sex? And what are the consequences of not knowing how reproduction works? How does comprehensive sex education–sex education that includes information about birth control and safe and healthy sexual relationships–affect endpoints like the frequency of children having sex, incidences of sexually transmitted infections, teen pregnancies, and abortions? We will revisit these questions after we tell you about copulation and fertilization, typically the first steps in making babies.


  1. By Claude Covo-Farchi from Paris, France (Une étoile est née) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons


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The Evolution and Biology of Sex Copyright © 2020 by Sehoya Cotner and Deena Wassenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.