Creating a new life is one of the most amazing experiences that people can ever have. Becoming a parent is often one of the most rewarding, exhilarating times in the couple’s life. Before you take that big step, it is important to learn more about the process. By finding out about ovulation, timing and fertility techniques, you can increase your chances of conceiving. More importantly, you can ensure that you are set up for a healthy, happy pregnancy.
How Are Babies Made?
There are only two requirements for a baby to be made. All it takes is an egg from the woman’s ovaries and sperm from the male. The woman has hundreds of thousands eggs in her ovaries that are released monthly throughout the fertile part of her life. In fact, when a baby girl is born, her body already contains millions of eggs for her to one day have a child with. By the time that baby girl is old enough to have children, the number will have dropped to just several hundred thousand eggs. Meanwhile, the man’s sperm is constantly being remade.
Preparing for the Release of the Egg
Normally, the female body will release a single egg every menstrual cycle. Sometimes, more than one egg is released. In some cases, the woman’s body may not release any eggs at all. When the egg is released, it starts with the ovaries letting a mature egg out. This egg is engulfed by the Fallopian tubes, where it will travel down to the uterus. Once the egg is in the Fallopian tubes, it will wait around for sperm to fertilize it. This process is known as ovulation.
In general, eggs will live for just 24 hours after ovulation. This is why many women who want to get pregnant will use an ovulation testing kit to figure out when they are actually ovulating. While sperm can stay in the body for up to five days, they are normally only present for a much shorter period of time. It is important to have sex around ovulation so that the sperm have a chance of reaching the egg before it ends up dying.
The Creation of Sperm
While the female is responsible for half of the work, the male must also provide sperm for the egg to become fertilized. The male’s body is capable of producing millions of new sperm all of the time. A single ejaculation can include 40 million sperm. This amount of sperm is actually necessary for fertilization for a few reasons. Sperm are only capable of living for a few days before they die, so new ones are constantly needed. Plus, the sperm that are produced must swim fast up the Fallopian tubes in order to fertilize the egg. Only the strongest ones can make the trip and live long enough to reach the egg. The male body must also create millions of sperm because it increases the chances that the woman will actually become pregnant.
In the male body, the sperm are created within the testicles. For the sperm to form and stay alive, they must be kept at about 36 degrees Celsius. This is the reason why the testicles are placed outside of the body—it keeps the testicles about four degrees cooler than the rest of the body. The man’s body can also contract and stretch the testicles naturally to adjust the temperature.
Each testicle contains a small tube where the sperm wait to be ejaculated. Before ejaculation happens, some of the sperm mixes with semen that allows it to get closer to the uterus. Later, the sperms’ job is to swim toward the uterus, up the Fallopian tubes and penetrate the awaiting egg.
How Does the Egg Get Fertilized?
A baby can only be made if the egg is fertilized. After the egg enters the Fallopian tubes, it is ready to be fertilized. The female body has already prepared for this to happen by creating a thick lining in the uterus. If you do not get pregnant, the lining will be shed as a menstrual cycle. If pregnancy does occur, then the lining will stay there to nourish and care for the baby.
When your body is ready for pregnancy and you have sex, there are several things that occur. The man ejaculates, and his semen is sent into your body. The semen that enters your body contains millions of sperm that are traveling at about 10 miles per hour from his body. This helps ensure that the semen is as close to the cervix as possible. By doing this, his body makes it easier for the semen to travel past the cervical mucus.
Once the sperm travel through the cervix, they enter the uterus. All of the sperm are suddenly in a race to the end to reach the egg first. Some are held back by cervical mucus, but the strongest make their way through. Once they reach the Fallopian tubes, the sperm begin searching around for the egg. This can take a long time, and sperm can only move about 2.5 centimeters in 15 minutes. If the sperm do not reach the egg in time, they will die.
If the sperm are successful at finding the egg, the viable, strong ones will try desperately to get inside. Ultimately, one sperm will penetrate the egg and fertilize it.
When the egg has been fertilized, no other sperm can enter the egg. The egg travels down the rest of the Fallopian tubes, but the woman is not yet considered pregnant. The egg must implant in the uterine wall before the woman is actually pregnant. This can take several days to occur.
Once fertilization happens, the egg and sperm start to reproduce cells at an impressive rate. When the egg is implanted on the wall of the uterus, it grows even faster. If things do not go as planned, the egg may try to implant early in the Fallopian tubes. If this happens, it is important to go to the doctor immediately because an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening.
Other things can go wrong as well. If there is a problem with the egg or sperm, your body may just expel it at your next period. When there are not any problems, you will not have your period because you will officially be pregnant. Before long, you will have enough hCG in your body to have a positive result on a pregnancy test.