What's in This Guide?
When Does Conception Occur? This is an easy yet difficult question to answer due to the complexities of the female body.
Conception occurs due to several processes that include the matured female eggs and the sperm released by the male. So, when does conception or pregnancy occurs? To get the right answer to this question, you also have to learn about some other important areas. Keep reading this article.
When Does Pregnancy Actually Happens?
Human life begins with conception, but when exactly does the process occur? Even when scientists described in detail the reproductive process centered on the female reproductive organ, it has always been a contention. However, a man plays an active role in the fertilization of the female ovary. To understand the conception process, there is a need to explore the female reproductive organs, female menstrual cycle, and prenatal development.
Conception revolves around three main reproductive organs; the ovaries, fallopian tube, and the uterus through the process of ovulation, fertilization, and implantation. Conception occurs during the fertilization of the woman’s egg by a sperm from a man. This process begins with ovulation; the ovum/egg stored in one of the two ovaries matures and is released into the fallopian tube.
Ovulation is aided by a combination of hormones release because it occurs halfway through the menstrual cycle, which is once in a month. This helps the egg mature, causing the lining of the uterus to grow thicker and suitable for implantation of the fertilized egg before it travels to the uterus.
Once the egg fertilizes, it engages in a short journey, traveling down the female’s fallopian tube until it gets to the uterus, which develops into an embryo; this is called implantation. This is when the zygote makes contact with the uterus wall and starts producing human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) chemical used to detect the presence of pregnancy. This is where the embryo develops into the full baby to the point of birth.
What is Conception?
Conception has been defined literally as a process of becoming pregnant that involves ovulation, fertilization, and implantation when a sperm fertilized an egg approximately 4-5 days after sexual intercourse. This definition considers that life kicks off right from the fertilization of the egg, as the sperm from the semen can get to the mature egg.
Conception can also be defined as the implantation time when sperm travel up through the vaginal to the uterus and fertilizes the eggs found in the fallopian tube, and this is around 6-12 days post fertilization; at this point, the embryo starts growing rapidly because nutrients are being passed to it’s through the amniotic fluid (which is a cushion for the growing fetus) from the mother.
Conception as human reproduction occurs in the fallopian tube where males’ sperm blend with female’s eggs (the egg is released from the ovaries). But to understand the concept better and discuss ovulation, conception, implantation, or fertilization, we must understand how human reproduction occurs inside the female and understand the female’s reproductive system’s anatomy. Like any other medicine, each part of the human body, the anatomy has a specialized name for it.
Ovaries are considered female gonads where the eggs come from, and there are two ovaries in each female, right and left. Please note that shape and the size changes with female maturity to about the size of a large grape but are typically the shape and size of walnut during pre-puberty. Ovaries in females hold approximately a million eggs after birth, i.e., for each ovary. Each month, there is a release of a mature egg.
- These ovary glands have three important functions: first, they protect and shelter the eggs a female is born with pending when they are ready for use. As stated above, a female is usually born with ovaries that hold about one million eggs each. Still, there is a need to protect them from chemotherapy, which can spark new eggs’ development.
- They secrete hormones called estrogen and progesterone, and some hormones are called Relaxin and inhibin. Estrogen handles the “female characteristics” and plays roles in the development of breasts, as well as larger hips. It is also involved in the female reproductive cycle and aids in the reproduction cycle. Progesterone is also key to reproduction; Relaxin helps in loosening the ligaments in the pelvic area, making them stretch to a great extent during child birthing. Inhibin, on the other hand, prevents the production of hormones from the pituitary gland.
- They release eggs for possible fertilization through a process called ovulation. It is discovered that inside each ovary are follicles that contain a dormant egg. The follicles vary in numbers as a female gets matures; it is usually around being 150,000 to 500,000 at birth, and around 34,000 maturities, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica.
The Uterine Tubes
First to note is that this is where conception takes place/occurs; the ovary releases the egg which then travels into the uterine tubes (aka fallopian tubes). They are about 10 centimeters in length and 1 centimeter in diameter. The uterine tube transports the ejaculated sperm to the egg released by the ovaries and allows the fertilized egg passages back to the uterus.
The uterus (aka womb) is the female reproductive organ inverted-pear muscular in shape located between the bladder and the rectums. It holds, nurtures, and fertilizes the eggs until the fetus is ready for delivery. The womb has 3 openings, a large opening that serves as a pathway for sperm to enter and for the baby to exit during childbirth; as for 2 other openings, they serve as the entering points for eggs into the uterus.
Conception or Reproductive Process
We have discussed in detail the nature of the female reproductive organ and its functions in the reproduction process. We have seen that conception is when sperm travels up through the vaginal up to the uterus and fertilizes an egg found in the fallopian tube. We know that this occurs during the menstrual cycle called ovulation, which is usually the midpoint of the cycle around day 14 in a 28 days cycle. Let us now understand the human reproduction works in the early stages.
This is the name of the process that usually happens once every menstrual cycle, usually once in a month when hormone imbalance triggers an ovary to release a mature egg. Pregnancy can occur at this stage if a sperm fertilizes a mature egg in the fallopian tube; it is important to know that ovulation happens between 12 to 16 days of the next menstrual cycle.
Usually, once a month, a mature egg is released into the uterine tube from one of the two ovaries. The released egg secretes a progesterone’s chemical hormone; the egg then travels to the uterus, gliding through the cilia. When the egg gets to the uterine tube, the travel speed is reduced to 1 inch in 1-2 days. By the time it reaches the uterus in four to seven days, a signal is already sent to the uterus indicating that a released egg has started its journey. Thus, the uterus wall begins to thicken as a preparation to receive the egg.
Important things to Know About Ovulation
- As ovulation approaches, the body secretes increasing amounts of a hormone called estrogen; this enhances the uterus’ thickening process, making the environment more suitable for the sperm.
- A sudden rise of the luteinizing hormone (LH) occurs as a result of the higher levels of estrogen. The surge in the LH then triggers the ovary to release the matured eggs.
Fertilization is simply the union of a matured egg and a sperm, which occurs in the fallopian tube, leading to zygote cell formation. Eventually, the combined egg (zygote) and sperm will go on and attach to the wall of the uterus to divide then form embryos from the cells and development of a human. The zygote contains all the genetic material it will need to become a person.
After fertilization, the egg spends approximately a week journey through the fallopian tube to get to the uterus. As it enters the uterus, the single cells (zygote) developed into an embryo comprising about 200 cells. This is the phase that the embryo attaches itself to the wall of the uterus. The embryonic outer gets broken, and the embryo now links directly to the wall of the uterus. Through this link, the embryo begins to receive nutrients and oxygen from the mother in order to be able to grow.
After implantation, the embryo begins to produce a chemical known as “human chorionic gonadotropin” (aka HCG). This is the same chemical that is being used to determine if a woman is pregnant. On average it takes around 3-4 days after the embryo produces HCG to detect pregnancy. Right from this point, there is a continuous development of the embryo, and this continues till the baby is fully formed.
Conception is a process of how new life begins through the human reproductive process. It centers mainly on the female reproductive organ but not without the male reproductive organ through eggs’ fertilization. It is pertinent to know these organs and understand the interactions between the organs involved and their processes as they revolve around each other.
While conception is, of course, the process, that still doesn’t guarantee that pregnancy will result even when sperm is ejaculated into the vaginal of a woman because if any of the process circle is altered or not completed, pregnancy, which is the endpoint of the process will not occur.