Conception is the process of achieving pregnancy, though it isn’t as easy as people would like to believe. It involves several different processes and steps in order for pregnancy and conception to be achieved, and during each menstrual cycle, a woman has only a 25% chance of conceiving. If there are any issues to occur such as improper timing, poor sperm count or motility, no ovulation, or other disruptions in the steps, conception won’t be achieved for that cycle.
The first system in the conception process is ovulation. Ovulation occurs when the immature egg of a woman develops in her ovaries. The egg will develop into small cysts known as follicles. One of these follicles becomes dominant and put a stop to the growth of the remaining follicles. The dominant follicle continues developing until it bursts in the uterus which will then release the egg. This process is called ovulation and occurs about 2 weeks after the woman’s period began. It is an essential part of conceiving. Sperm will need to be ejaculated before or during ovulation, or shortly afterward. By the time the egg is released, sperm should be waiting in position to reach the egg.
The next stage of the conception process is when the mature follicle that released the egg is developed into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum will then release two different hormones; progesterone and estrogen. The progesterone hormone is going to prepare the lining of the uterus by thickening it which will prepare it for implantation of the embryo if conception is to occur.
Release of the Egg
When the follicle ruptures, the woman’s egg will be released. It then goes on a journey to one of the two fallopian tubes. The egg will sit there waiting to be fertilized for about 24-36 hours before it is finally released. If it was not fertilized by a sperm, the egg and the corpus luteum will regenerate and wait for the next menstrual cycle to begin again. The hormone levels are then reduced and the endometrium falls away which causes menstruation.
Fertilization and Implantation
If a sperm was able to get through the egg and penetrate it, it leads to fertilization. Once one sperm fertilizes the egg, it releases a protein coating that stops other sperm from entering the egg. Once the sperm fertilizes the egg, the baby’s genetics have already been determined including their sex and genetic profile. Sperm with a Y chromosome will be a boy and sperm with an X chromosome will be a girl. Once the egg is fertilized, it divides into several different cells. As it travels through the uterus, the egg continues to divide and grow in size until it becomes a cluster of cells known as a blastocyst. This will then attach to the walls of the uterus, in a process called implantation.