Fertilization

By Oscar

During intercourse, semen is ejaculated into the vagina, where the sperm can then travel through the cervix and uterus up into the Fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. In some cases, the egg is already in the tube awaiting fertilization; in others, the sperm (which can live for up to 72 hours) wait in the Fallopian tubes for an egg to be released. Because of this, a woman can become pregnant from intercourse that occurs either slightly before or after ovulation.

When sperm meet an egg, they attempt to penetrate it. If one does, the egg’s composition changes so that no other sperm may enter. Click here or on the picture above to see an illustration of fertilization. All ova contain an X chromosome; sperm contain either an X or a Y. Whether a boy or girl is conceived depends on the sperm that penetrates the egg. A Y chromosome from the male combined with the woman’s X chromosome creates a boy, while an X from the male combined with the woman’s X results in a female. The fertilized egg travels down the Fallopian tube, dividing into multiple cells as it goes toward the uterus. Click here to see an illustration of cell division. About seven days after fertilization, the egg (now called a blastocyst and containing about 100 cells) implants itself into the uterine lining. Click here to see an illustration of implantation. If all goes well, then here it will begin to develop into an embryo, then a fetus, and will be born as a baby.

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categoriaMen's Health, Women's Health commentoComments Off dataJuly 25th, 2011

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