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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Helen H. Kim, MD (University of Chicago)
Description: This is the third edition of a comprehensive textbook covering human reproductive biology. It begins with chapters on the basic biology of reproduction, but it also reviews clinical topics such as pregnancy, contraception, induced abortion, and infertility. The emphasis, however, is on the basic biology of human reproductive biology. The previous edition was published in 1997.
Purpose: As the authors point out, advances in human reproduction appear in the media almost daily, and reproductive biology is relevant to people of all ages. The purpose of this book, according to the editors' preface, "is to give college students a solid foundation in understanding the human reproductive system so that they can critically evaluate and interpret new findings as they prepare for careers in reproductive biology and medicine." The authors succeed in producing a comprehensive textbook that illuminates human reproductive biology.
Audience: This would be ideal for a college level course on human reproductive biology, but it would also be useful for graduate students who might require background on human reproduction. The book might be useful in undergraduate endocrinology or physiology courses as well. Because the book is very readable, it may also be of interest to clinical practitioners of endocrinology, obstetrics and gynecology, or urology who might want to examine clinical problems from a different perspective. The book offers updates on relevant basic biology (sexual differentiation) and also considers an evolutionary perspective (orgasm, scrotum, menopause, morning sickness) or cross-cultural perspective (human mating systems).
Features: The book is divided into five parts covering adult female and male reproductive systems; sexual differentiation and development; procreation; fertility and its control; special topics in human reproduction biology, which includes chapters on brain sex and sexually transmitted diseases. The earlier chapters provide basic biology background and the later chapters address clinical topics. The clinical chapters will not have enough specific information for practitioners, but they provide clinical background for students of biology or physiology. Highlight boxes present topics of special interest, such as "Trading of Cells between Fetus and Mom during Pregnancy" or "Maternal and Paternal Genetic Imprinting." The new edition includes clear color illustrations, as well as black-and-white figures that augment the text. Also new to this edition are expanded references and a chapter on reproductive aging.
Assessment: This is a useful addition to the field of reproductive biology. Since the publication of the previous edition, numerous advances have been made in the study of human reproduction. The authors have updated and revised their book with the goal of providing the latest available findings. They have done a superb job of creating a readable, aesthetically appealing textbook that provides a comprehensive overview of human reproductive biology.