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62

620

The reproductive period 1 (or in women the childbearing period 1) begins at puberty 2. Menstruation 3—the appearance of the periods 4 or menses 4 in women—also begins at puberty. The first period is called the menarche 5 and menstruation ceases with the menopause 6, which is also sometimes called the climacteric 6. The absence of menstruation (e.g. after childbirth) is called amenorrhoea 7.

  • 3. menstruation n. — menstruate v. — menstrual adj.
  • 6. menopause n. — menopausal adj. The expression change of life is used as a synonym for menopause in colloquial language.

621

The capacity of a man, a woman or a couple to participate in reproduction (i.e., the production of a live child) is called fecundity 1. The lack of that capacity is called infecundity 2, sterility 2 or physiological infertility 2. Fertility 3 (601-1) on the other hand means actual reproductive performance —whether applied to an individual or group. It should be noted that in many Latin languages, the etymological equivalents of fertility and fecundity are used in a sense diametrically opposite to that in English. Thus, the French fécondité or the Spanish fecondidad are properly translated by fertility, and fertilité or fertilidad by fecundity. It should also be noted that although the conventions outlined above are generally followed by demographers, the terms fertility and fecundity are used much more loosely in medical literature, where they are sometimes treated as being almost synonymous. Childlessness 4 may be due to sterility, but like the word infertility 4 includes both physiological infertility (621-2) and voluntary infertility 5 which is often inaccurately called voluntary sterility 5.

  • 1. fecundity n. — fecund adj. The term sub-fecundity when applied to an individual means that the capacity is below normal; it is also sometimes applied to a group of persons rather than to an individual.
  • 2. sterility n. — sterile adj. — sterilize v., to make sterile, sterilization n., the operation of sterilizing. — infecundity n. — infecund adj.
  • 3. fertility n. — adj. fertile. The term sub-fertility has been used to apply both to persons and to groups of low fertility, and also to groups which should properly be called sub-fecund, because their low fertility is due to physiological causes.
  • 4. infertility n. — infertile adj. — childlessness n. — childless adj.

622

A sterile couple cannot procreate a child. The sterility may be due to either or both partners and either or both may prove to be fecund with another mate. Among women we distinguish primary sterility 1 where the woman has never been able to have children, and secondary sterility 2, which arises after one or more children have been born. Sterility may bo permanent but there are also periods of temporary sterility 3. Women have sterile periods 4 in each menstrual cycle 5 (cf. 620-3*), because generally conception, can occur only during a few days around the time of ovulation 6. A woman is sterile throughout an anovular cycle 7 (i.e., a cycle in which ovulation does not occur). A woman is also sterile from the end of pregnancy (602-5) to the resumption of ovulation, which usually occurs after the puerperium (603-6).

623

A couple’s fertility (621-3) will depend upon their fecundity (621-1) and their reproductive behaviour 1. A distinction is drawn between planners 2 who attempt to regulate the number and spacing of their children, and non-planners 3 who make no such attempt and whose fertility will depend entirely upon their sexual activity and fecundity. Some demographers use a broader definition of the term "planner" and include in this group couples who decide they wish to have as many children as possible as quickly as possible. In the narrower sense fertility planning 4 or family planning 4 consists in the restriction of births 5 or limitation of births 5, either temporarily to achieve the desired interval between successive births or permanently to prevent more births than desired. The terms birth control 6, voluntary parenthood 6 or planned fertility 6 have been used.

  • 4. A classification by fertility planning status distinguishes between the couples who have not tried to regulate the number and spacing of their children and those who have tried to do so, and subdivides the latter on the basis of the degree of success attained,

624

Contraception 1, strictly speaking, refers to measures excluding sterilization (and, in some discussions, permanent and periodic abstinence) which are taken in order to prevent sexual intercourse 2 or coitus 2 from resulting in conception. A contraceptive method 3 is sometimes called a birth control method 3, but the latter term is also used in a broader sense to include intentional abortion (604-2), sterilization (621-2*) and complete abstinence 4 from coitus, which are not usually considered to be contraceptive methods. A specific type of periodic abstinence (625-6) is classified as a birth control method when this term is used in its broader meaning. Some demographers classify it as a contraceptive method, but others do not.

  • 1. contraception n. — contraceptor n., one who practises contraception.

625

A distinction is frequently drawn between appliance methods 1 of contraception and non-appliance methods 2. The former make use of contraceptives 3 or contraceptive devices 3 which prevent the union of the sperm and the ovum, or of chemical contraceptives 4 or spermicides 4 which kill the sperm. One principal non-appliance method of contraception is coitus interruptus 5 or withdrawal 5. Another non-appliance method of contraception is periodic abstinence 6 or the rhythm method 6, in which coitus-is avoided during the period when the woman is believed to be fecund and takes place only during the so-called safe period 7 of the menstrual cycle (622-5) when she is believed to be incapable of conceiving (602-1 *). Some fertility planning couples (623-4) use the rhythm method to try to ensure a conception when wanted, i.e., they have intercourse during the period when ovulation is believed to occur.

  • 2. The Roman Catholic Church distinguishes also between natural methods and unnatural
    methods of contraception, with periodic abstinence classified as natural and all other methods as unnatural.

626

The appliance methods which are more commonly used to prevent the union of the sperm and the ovum include the condom 1 or sheath 1 used by men, and the diaphragm 2 or pessary 2, cervical cap 2, stem pessary 3, tampon 4 or sponge 4 and douche 5 used by women. The chemical contraceptives which are more commonly used by women as spermicides include the contraceptive jelly 6, cream 6, paste 6 or suppository 6 and foam tablets 7 or foam powders 7. Certain of these methods are commonly used in combination with others, e.g. diaphragm and jelly.

* * *

back to Introduction | preface | Index
chapters | General concepts index 1 | The treatment and processing of population statistics index 2 | Distribution and classification of the population index 3 | Mortality and morbidity index 4 | Nuptiality index 5 | Fertility index 6 | Population growth and replacement index 7 | Migration index 8 | Economic and social aspects of demography index 9
section | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 70 | 71 | 72 | 80 | 81 | 90 | 91 | 92 | 93


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