How Long Does It Take to Fertilize an Egg?

For a women to conceive, her egg has to be fertilized. Even when the woman has a healthy egg and the man has healthy sperm, it can still be difficult to conceive. The amount of time that it takes for sperm to fertilize and egg can vary significantly from person to person or case to case.

How Long Does It Take to Fertilize an Egg? 

To have an egg fertilized successfully, you need to have a high enough sperm count. Although a single sperm can in theory fertilize a sperm, a higher sperm count increases the chances. The average, healthy man has an average of 40 million to 150 million sperm. After sexual intercourse, the sperm travel through the vaginal canal to the Fallopian tubes. If an egg is present and ready to be fertilized, the woman will become pregnant. In general, the fastest sperm can swim to the woman’s eggs within 30 minutes. Slower sperm take up to several days to reach the eggs. On average, sperm will only live in the female reproductive organs for about 48 hours to 72 hours. After this time period, they begin to die out.

Although millions of sperm may enter the woman’s body, only a few hundred or less will actually reach the egg. Once it does reach the egg, a single sperm that swam the fastest will penetrate the egg. After this happens, the sperm and egg become a zygote. Rapid cell multiplication leads to the formation of an embryo. This later becomes a fetus, and transforms into a baby after nine months.

How Does Conception Actually Work?

To understand how long it takes for an egg to become fertilized, you have to understand how conception actually works.

Ovulation: Roughly two weeks after the woman’s menstrual cycle restarts, her ovaries realize a mature egg that is ready for fertilization if sperm is present.

Traveling to the Fallopian Tube: Once the egg is released, it travels from the ovaries into the Fallopian tubes. It will remain in this area until a sperm fertilizes it. If sperm does not fertilize the egg, the female’s body will flush out the egg and any tissue when her menstrual cycle begins.

The Journey of the Sperm: Meanwhile, millions of sperm are released when the male ejaculates into the woman. At most, perhaps several hundred of these sperm actually reach the egg within 30 minutes or so after ejaculation.

The Sperm Reaches the Egg: Once a sperm reaches the egg, it penetrates the egg and forms a zygote. After this happens, no other sperm can enter the egg and the baby’s gender is determined by the blend of chromosomes present. The entire fertilization process takes about 24 hours.



Cell Division: Now that the egg is a zygote, it has to start dividing to make an embryo. The fertilized egg travels down the Fallopian tubes to the uterus. If the fertilized egg remains in the Fallopian tubes, it can cause an ectopic pregnancy and can be life threatening for the mother.

Implantation: Once the fertilized egg successfully reaches the uterus, it implants on the uterine wall.

Pregnancy Hormones: The implantation of the egg signals to the woman’s body that she is pregnant. Over the next few weeks, the woman’s levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) increase. Within three to four weeks, the increase in hCG will show up on a pregnancy test and the woman will realize that she is pregnant.

Fetal Development: Within the uterus, the placenta and embryo begin to grow. Over the next few months, the brain, spinal cord and organs start to develop. At eight weeks of age, the embryo officially becomes a fetus.

How Can You Increase Your Chances of Conceiving?

Quit Smoking: Smoking lowers fertility in men and women. It also increases the chances of damage to the fetus in pregnant woman and heightens the risks of a miscarriage.



Protect Sperm: For the best chances of conceiving, men need to have a high sperm count. Avoiding saunas, hot tubs, hot showers and close-fitting underwear will help men to keep their sperm levels up.

Watch Your Weight: A healthy weight and solid exercise routine will help you to become pregnant.

Track Your Ovulation: For the best chances of becoming pregnant, you have to have sex during times when you are ovulating. Start having sex three days before ovulation and continue until your basal temperature goes back to normal.

Watch Out for Harmful Exposure: Chemicals, toxins and environmental contaminants can decrease your chances of becoming pregnant. Common toxins are found in printing presses, dry cleaners, agricultural pesticides and cleaning agents. To have the best chance of becoming pregnant, you need to avoid all sources of chemicals and environmental contaminants.

Have More Sex: Although you can track ovulation and be somewhat accurate, it is always possible that your body could release an egg at any time of the month. To have the best chance of becoming pregnant, relax and have sex frequently, This increases the chances that you will become pregnant, and it can be enjoyable for both partners.

Watch What You Drink: Excessive amounts of alcohol or coffee can decrease your chances of becoming pregnant. You should either avoid caffeine or alcohol completely or drink moderately if you want to become pregnant.

Be Careful About Your Lubricants: Some lubricants use spermicides, which actually kill off the sperm that could make you pregnant. Water-based lubricants can also slow down the sperm. Stick to olive or coconut oil if you need a lubricant.

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101 COMMENTS

  1. My boyfriend got out of jail on April 21st and we had sex all day long. My period came on the 22nd of April and lasted 4 days, soon after it was officially off we had more sex. Now I am pregnant and I just want to know if it possible that I got pregnant on the same day lhe got out of jail….it’s July 2nd and officially 10 weeks and 2 days, can someone help and answer my question about when was my baby conceived.

    • It is certainly possible that these signs are due to your recent experiences. Continue to monitor your experiences at this time for additional symptoms of pregnancy. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Confirm the result of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Key!

  2. I have a regular 28 day cycle my period last for six days my period started June 15 and ended June 21 my husband and I had unprotected sex June 21st and June 22nd and then on June 24 I had cramping bloating and then It went away then it came back on June 26 I had cramping bloating yearn for sex and fertile cervical mucus that same night I had a really sharp pain that felt that it came from my pelvic bone and only lasted five seconds then on June 27 I Felt another pain but it was in the front on my pelvic area to the left it only lasted five seconds and now my nipples are sore my question is i’m pretty sure I’m ovulating but my question is if I had unprotected sex On June 21 and 22nd is there a chance I could get pregnant I just find it odd that I would ovulate so soon after my period was over

    • Anytime that you have unprotected sex, you run the possibility of becoming pregnant. It is certainly possible that you are pregnant at this time. Continue to monitor your experiences for pregnancy symptoms. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Confirm the result of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Jessica!

  3. Hello the first day of my period was may 26th and my husband and I have had sex from the 29th on and my stomach has been hurting every once a while and my nipples have started to hurt and my back has been hurting also

    • It is possible that you are experiencing symptoms of pregnancy. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having at this time. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Confirm the result of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Amber!

    • I just had that back pain cramps bloating need for sex that’s called ovulation I get this before I ovulate and before my period I just had my period so I know I’m def ovulating cuz my hubby and I aren’t trying we already have 5

      • Thank you for sharing your experiences and insights. It is always great to hear what our readers want to share. Have a great day, Jessica!

  4. Hello the first day of my period was may 26th and my husband and I have had sex from the 29th on and my stomach has been hurting every once a while and my nipples have started to hurt

    • It is possible that you are experiencing symptoms of pregnancy. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having at this time. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Confirm the result of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Amber!

  5. Hi, me and my boyfriend have sex 5-7 days before my period start. Is there a chance that’ll be pregnant? And how long would it take that the zygote travel going to uterus?

    • It is possible that you may become pregnant. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having at this time. If you miss your period, then take a pregnancy test. Confirm the result of your test with a medical professional. Best of luck, Shey!

  6. How can you track your ovulation after a miscarriage (blited ovum)? Bled like a normal cycle then intercourse a week later. Could I still become pregnant?

    • You could still become pregnant, yes. Figuring out when you ovulate after a miscarriage may take a couple of months unless you are using ovulation predictor tests. Good luck, Tre!

  7. Anytime I had sex blood always come out of my body and 1st of may my period started and10,12,13 I had sex can I be pregnancy

    • It seems like you may have commented twice on this one. I have to answer each comment individually, so it may sometimes take me a little while to answer them all. If you do not see your response right away, do not worry because you will. Read through my last response and let me know if you have any questions. Thanks for commenting!

  8. Any time I had sex blood is always coming out from my body(vaginal) and again my period started 1st may and I had sex 10,12,13of may can I be pregnant

    • It is too early to know if you are pregnant or not yet, so you just have to wait until your period is supposed to start again and then take a pregnancy test. If you continue to bleed during sex, go to your doctor to find out the cause. Good luck, Silver!

    • Unless you track your ovulation there’s no way to tell if you’ve even ovulated yet or when you did…If you have a “typical” or “textbook” cycle (28 days) then it’s possible, but most likely you’re probably in the 2 week wait…If your last period started on 5/1 then you can probably take a pregnancy test within a day or so…

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