'Conceiving persons' is an international exploration of the symbolism of reproduction. The emphasis is on the core metaphors and practices of human sexual and social reproduction in their personal, societal, and cosmological contexts. The roles of a range of substances-blood, semen, milk, and food-and their specific parts in the creation of the character of fetus and infant are assessed. Particular attention is paid to the construction of gender and its implications. Case studies are drawn from European peasant societies and from communities in Africa, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America.