Reproductive to post-reproductive stage in women (and men): Sexual and gender differences, lifespan, ageing, death

The transition from adolescence to adulthood is a biocultural process and there is no exact chronological age at which adulthood begins. Neither is there a specific biological event that marks the onset of adulthood. The termination of growth in height is one important event but has a wide age range —from less than age 15 year to as late as 26 years in healthy, well-nourished people. Pregnancy or impregnation by boys can occur before age 15 and before growth terminates. The ability to make babies does not indicate adult maturity. Rather, the physical, social, economic, cognitive, and emotional ability to care for babies are hallmarks of the adult. The coalescence of these abilities may occur over a wide range of chronological ages due to many features of specific human societies. The acceptable age at marriage is one bioculturally defined indicator of adulthood. But, even this is imprecise as acceptable ages of marriage vary from as young as 10 years for girls in some societies to as late as 35+ years for men in other societies. The 10 year old is not an adult; the 35 year old has been biologically adult for at least a decade. No matter at what age it occurs, adulthood marks the beginning of the aging process and the eventual transition to senescence and death. [Barry Bogin]