Links Search the Web Contents Contact Us
Updated 16 April, 2007

The manner in which a woman falls pregnant will be discussed on this page, followed by a graphic presentation of the process. This discussion should also help couples in planning a pregnancy. It will give them a better understanding of the process. It will also explain why it sometimes takes months for the female partner to conceive.

It is important to understand that a woman releases only one egg cell per month ( on average one every 28 days). If a pregnancy is desired the timing of intercourse (sex) should coincide with ovulation.

The graphic presentation will help to explain why the greatest chance to become pregnant is at the time of ovulation. The real fertile period is however slightly longer. It is possible for some sperms to survive up to seven days and for the egg cell to survive up to three days. This means that the fertility periods lasts from seven days before until three days after ovulation. The best chance to conceive is however the days around ovulation.

Unfortunately for people who want to use the non fertile days as a way of contraception , it is possible for ovulation to occur unexpectedly at other times. These unexpected ovulations occur seldom. but the so called save period is still less reliable than other forms of Contraception.

A Graphic Presentation Of Fertilization
The egg cell (pink) is sucked towards the tubal opening (refer to "The Normal Ovary"). It also depicts the presence of sperm in the vagina. The sperm (blue with tails) swim from the vagina, through the cervix and uterus tubes. The tubes are lined with a special lining known as ciliary epithelium. This lining contains minute hair like structures that, through continuous movement, create a suction power from the ovary towards the cavity of the womb. Thereby, the sperm can swim upstream. See The Fallopian Tubes
This drawing illustrates how many sperms align around the egg cell. Than the head material of one of the sperms enters the egg cell. The egg cell changes and it is impossible for other sperms to also enters the egg cell. The egg cell is now fertilized and a now life begins. A corpus luteum is now present in the ovary (yellow structure).

See an enlarged image

The movement of the fertilized egg cell through the fallopian tube is illustrated in this drawing.(green ) Due to the function of the ciliary epithelium the fertilized egg is slowly moved through the fallopian tube to the cavity within the womb. This journey takes about 5 days.

See an enlarged image