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What is it?
Fertilization is the primary step for making a baby. It occurs when the sperm from the male partner combines with the egg of the female partner, creating an embryo as a result. This process involves the following:

  • Uterus
  • Fallopian Tubes
  • Sperm
  • Healthy eggs

Role of the Follicles
Follicles are fluid-filled sacs present in the ovaries that contain one egg each and the cells that are necessary to prepare the egg for the early embryo development.
The brain produces a hormone called Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) that tells the follicles to grow and get bigger. When one of the follicles reaches a size of about 20mm, all of the others disintegrate. This big follicle will produce estrogen that will make the lining of the uterus t grown and prepare itself for pregnancy.
The brain will then respond by producing the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and it is present in the body for only a day per month.

Ovulation and Release of the Egg
Ovulation starts approximately 24 hours after the LH is produced. The egg is then released from the ovary. The egg is then captured by the fallopian tube, which is the site of fertilization where the sperm will look for the egg.
After the fertilization, the egg is called an embryo. Few days after the fertilization, usually 5 days, the embryo that is in its blastocyst stage is pushed into the uterus. The embryo is then implanted into the lining of the uterus. Once this is accomplished, the pregnancy hormone is produced and the expectant mother will miss the next period.
Process of Fertilization
Fertilization usually occurs in the fallopian tubes of the female partner when a sperm manages to make into the reproductive tract. The process starts with sexual intercourse, where millions of sperm travel through the woman’s reproductive tract. But only one sperm will be able to fertilize or penetrate the egg.
As soon as the egg and sperm meet, the cells will start to mix together and then start to divide. This will lead to the formation of DNA sequencing and the gender of the future baby.
The egg, after the fertilization, moves down the tube and gets itself implanted into the uterus. This actually initiates the pregnancy. In some cases, the fertilized egg might implant itself outside the uterus, either in the fallopian tube or the cervix and this type of pregnancy is called an ectopic pregnancy.
How will she know?
An expectant mother can find out if she’s pregnant by either visiting the gynecologist or use a pregnancy test.
The body produces a pregnancy hormone when a woman is pregnant and these pregnancy tests detect this hormone and confirm pregnancy. It takes at least 3-4 weeks for the pregnancy hormone levels to be high enough so that it can be detected by these tests.

Authored by Dr. Anitha Mani - Infertility Specialist & Laparoscopy Surgeon

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