She points out how within the female cycle, menstruation must necessarily be judged as a failure, more precisely "debris" of the uterine lining, resulting from the death of tissue. On the other hand, she says, male reproductive physiology is evaluated differently. (Page 3: 486)
It is also remarkable how "femininely" the egg behaves and how "masculinity" the sperm. The egg is seen as large and passive. It does not move, but "is transported" along fallopian tube. In contrast, sperm are small, and constantly active. They ''deliver'' their genes to the egg and ,''activate'' its developmental program. (Page 6: 489)
Some researchers liken the egg’s role to that of Sleeping Beauty: "a dormant bride awaiting for lover’s magic kiss, which instills the spirit that brings her to life." At most the age-old relationship of the egg and the sperm takes on a royal or religious aura. The egg coat, its protective barrier, is sometimes called its ''vestments'', a term usually reserved for sacred dress. It is holy, set apart and above, in other words, a queen/ king relationship. (Page 7: 490)
But Martin dismisses all this imagery as part of history. Sperm are cells with a limited behavioral repertoire, one that is directed toward fertilizing eggs, i.e. “executing decisions" while filled with fear of high risk, resulting from difficult options. (Page 8: 491)
In the end, Martin urges on the waking up of sleeping metaphors in science about the egg and the sperm. Although the literary convention is to call, such metaphors ''dead'', they are not so...