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    Kenny, Louise C. and Kell, Douglas B. 2018. Immunological Tolerance, Pregnancy, and Preeclampsia: The Roles of Semen Microbes and the Father†. Frontiers in Medicine, Vol. 4, Issue. ,

    Burch, Rebecca L. 2018. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. p. 1.

    Gallup, Gordon G. and Stolz, Jennifer A. 2017. Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science. p. 1.

    Pham, Michael N. Jeffery, Austin John Sela, Yael Lynn, Justin T. Trevino, Sara Willockx, Zachary Tratner, Adam Itchue, Paul Shackelford, Todd K. Fink, Bernhard and McDonald, Melissa M. 2016. Duration of Cunnilingus Predicts Estimated Ejaculate Volume in Humans: a Content Analysis of Pornography. Evolutionary Psychological Science, Vol. 2, Issue. 3, p. 220.

    Gallup, Gordon G. and Reynolds, Collin J. 2014. Evolutionary Medicine: Semen Sampling and Seminal Plasma Hypersensitivity. Evolutionary Psychology, Vol. 12, Issue. 1, p. 147470491401200.

    Abrams, Elizabeth T. and Miller, Elizabeth M. 2011. The roles of the immune system in Women's reproduction: Evolutionary constraints and life history trade-offs. American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Vol. 146, Issue. S53, p. 134.

    Burch, Rebecca L. and Gallup, Gordon G. 2008. Semen Science. Sex Roles, Vol. 59, Issue. 3-4, p. 294.

  • Print publication year: 2006
  • Online publication date: January 2010

10 - Preeclampsia and other pregnancy complications as an adaptive response to unfamiliar semen



Preeclampsia is a leading cause of prenatal infant mortality (Mac Gillivray, 1983; Robillard, Dekker, & Hulsey, 2002). Preeclampsia occurs as a consequence of abnormal invasion by the trophoblast in the uterine spiral arteries and endothelial cell dysfunction (Friedman, 1993), and as a consequence the fetus may not receive adequate nutrition resulting in growth retardation. Whereas all mammalian embryos undergo implantation shortly after conception, humans are the only mammalian species known to undergo a second phase of deep trophoblastic implantation at the end of the first trimester (Robillard et al., 2003). In normal development, this second stage of implantation provides for the modification of spiral arteries that result in an increase in the blood flow to the placenta. Preeclampsia is believed to be the result of a failure to achieve or to complete this second implantation phase (Robillard et al., 2003). It is clinically diagnosed by maternal hypertension and proteinuria. The hypertension results from cytotrophic factors that are released by the fetus and serve to increase the amount of blood flowing to the placenta (Haig, 1993).

It has been theorized that the origins of preeclampsia in humans are linked to the increase in cranial capacity associated with the genus Homo (Robillard et al., 2003). The greater nutritional needs of the developing brain in the human fetus, compared to the more modest needs of developing brains in species with lower cranial capacities, has been hypothesized to explain the second wave of implantation characteristic of humans.

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