Every human being in every society results from reproduction, and most American men and women will have a child at some point in their lives. Even those who do not want to have children must contend with strong cultural presumptions around parenthood and, if they are sexually active, take steps to ensure they do not reproduce. In this review I discuss recent research on pregnancy, birth, abortion, contraception, infertility, and assisted reproduction. I argue that social scientists have conceptualized reproduction as a series of events that occur primarily in women's bodies. To stimulate theoretical and empirical research in this area, I develop a new conceptualization of reproduction as a biological and social process. I conclude by pointing to areas in need of further research, including reproductive aging, men, and the integration of qualitative and quantitative research.


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