Using this exhibit the visitor can explore the process of creating a child from before the moment of conception right through to birth. It also illustrates the importance of parental health and the role of genetics in determining the characteristics of a child. The exhibit explores four discrete components relating to the formation of a child. The first element looks at genetic influence on the formation of a child and explains how the concept of inheritance works. The second element introduces how fertility can affect and be affected by the parents. It looks at the role of zinc in a male diet and which period of the menstrual cycle is most likely to facilitate conception. There is also a game in which the visitor must time the release of sperm to fertilise an egg. In the third section pregnancy milestones are illustrated and development of the foetus is described until the child has fully developed and is ready to be born. Section four is much shorter than the others and suggests that when a child is born it should exit the womb head first.
Well, when a mummy and a daddy love each other very much... Seriously though, each parent will contribute half of their child's genome or genetic material in the form of either sperm or an egg. When the two halves join, it is called fertilisation. Once fertilisation occurs the cell is known as a zygote. The cell will then divide and is known as an embryo until eight weeks after fertilisation when it is called a foetus. Birth usually occurs between 37 and 42 weeks after the first day of the last menstrual cycle.
The "making a baby" exhibit is important in raising awareness of how life develops and grows. It also promotes the use of information and openness about a subject which often is linked to taboo areas for children. It is an informative and informal way of finding out about arguably the most significant event in every person's life - the moment they were born. The exhibit ties in the area of genetics directly to the process of childbirth.