Babies

The Scientific Process Behind Conception

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Most people’s knowledge about ovulation and reproduction is limited to ‘sperm meets egg, egg meets uterus’ and bang, you’re pregnant! But conception involves way more than just combining two reproductive cells. In fact, you only really have a small window of a few days every month to get pregnant.

Keep reading to learn the interesting process of ovulation and conception that . . . you probably didn’t know.

Understanding Your Cycle

Just like the moon and seasonal changes, the female body also goes through phases, known as ‘cycles’. The menstrual cycle is regulated by the complex interaction of hormones: luteinizing hormone, follicle-stimulating hormone, and the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Your cycle begins on day one of your period. Your brain releases hormones, like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which promotes an egg to grow and mature inside your ovaries. The hormones can also influence the thickening of your uterine lining so that implantation can take place if pregnancy occurs. This first phase of the menstrual cycle continues to day 14 and is referred to as the follicular stage.

During Ovulation

Every woman has a different cycle length, but a typical menstrual cycle is usually around 26-35 days. But ovulation only occurs between day 11-21 for around 24 hours. A hormone called luteinizing hormone (LH) spikes which triggers the release of the egg when it’s fully matured. At this point the amount of watery cervical mucus increases thus making the sperm’s journey to the egg easier.

More saliently, many people think that you can get pregnant any time of the month but there are only a few days in a month where conception is possible. Although, if you’re trying to prevent pregnancy, this shouldn’t be a reason to avoid birth control. Sperm can actually live inside your body for up to 5 days – thus, increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

Timing is Everything

A female’s reproduction process actually begins before she is born. When she is just a foetus, she develops around 1-2 million eggs but only release around 400 a lifetime. Once she reaches the age of puberty, she releases just one every month.

So, during ovulation, the matured egg will travel along the fallopian tube where it remains for 24 hours. If the timing is right and there are viable sperm cells, fertilization may take place which is essentially the first part of pregnancy. But if it does not occur within the fertile window, then the egg will disintegrate, and progesterone levels fall. This is called luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

Hereafter, (approximately, 12-16 days later) the egg along with blood and tissues from the lining of the uterus will shed from the body thus causing menstruation.

If conception does occur, the fertilized egg travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus where it should implant in the thick uterine wall in order for an embryo to start its development.

Factors That Affect Conception

Weight

Whether you’re overweight or underweight, your body can affect your fertility levels. Too high or too low BMI may interfere with the balance of reproductive hormones. In fact, your overall health may affect your reproductive system – including your regular (or irregular) menstrual cycles. Getting enough sleep, exercise, a healthy diet and regular hydration are essential in maintaining a smooth-running reproductive system (and overall health).

Rest assured that once you keep a healthy BMI, your fertility issues may improve. If you’re unsure, it’s always best to speak to your medical practitioner.

Age

Generally, after 35 years old your fertility levels tend to decrease with age. There are many different fertility treatments including In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) that could lead to successful pregnancy.

However, if you are under 35 years old and struggling to conceive for more than 12 months then it’s important to seek medical help. Many people don’t notice issues with reproduction until trying to conceive.

Age Affects Fertility . . . Even in Men!

Although men don’t technically go through menopause, they do reach an age where their sperm movement, count, shape and even sex drive is no longer as abundant as before. Thus, resulting in a delay in pregnancy.

If your partner is older, they too may need to visit the doctor in order to boost chances of pregnancy.

Treating Infertility

There are many different reasons for delayed pregnancy, this is why it’s important to get you and your partner checked out by a skilled medical practitioner. Many people do not notice an infertility issue until they struggle to conceive.

Luckily, there are a lot of treatment options available thanks to medicine and technology. These include fertility drugs, IVF or even simply maintaining a healthy body.

Think You May Be Pregnant?

The earliest and most common signs of pregnancy include a missed period, frequent urination, fatigue, feeling nauseated (morning sickness or throughout the day) and tender breasts.

Although these signs are very common, not everyone experiences pregnancy the same. If you’re exhibiting different symptoms or even no symptoms at all – it’s best to seek help immediately. In fact, according to medical studies, it is rare but possible to experience your first trimester without any symptoms at all.

If you’re unsure, take a pregnancy test on the first day of your missed period so that you can plan for your future as soon as possible.

How Surecheck Works

If fertilization AND implantation takes place, your body will release hCG, also known as the ‘pregnancy hormone’. A Surecheck test will be able to detect pregnancy from day one of your missed period.

Whether you’re trying to improve your fertility or prevent pregnancy, see our latest blogs to learn more about the female body.

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