Ovulation, Period, Pregnancy and IVF
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11 January 2017

Reproduction and Fertility Basics

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Written by Dr. Sohani Verma
Fertile period is the time frame in which ovulation occurs. The fertilization of the egg and reproduction largely depends on the fertility of the partners.

Fertile period is the time frame in which ovulation occurs. The fertilization of the egg and reproduction largely depends on the fertility of the partners.

Human natural reproduction is such an amazing yet complex process that seems miraculous. There are three main phases of human reproduction: Ovulation, Fertilization, and Implantation.

1. Ovulation: Each month when women get her ovulation cycle, several eggs begin to grow in the both ovaries. Every egg grows inside of the structure called a "follicle."

The body triggers the ovulation period by releasing a hormone that is called luteinizing hormone. This hormone is measured in the urine about 12 to 24 hours prior to the release of the egg. If you want to detect your ovulation period then ovulation detection kits can be used to detect the LH surge that is the peak time in a woman's cycle when she is prepared to conceive. During the ovulation period, the follicle ruptures, and release the fluid which is contained inside and then releasing the egg. It is the important phase in fertilization.

This egg then leaves the ovarian follicle and is captured at the end of the fallopian tubes. Then in the fallopian tubes, it will start to move slowly down the tube towards the uterus firmly. For a pregnancy to take place eggs first meet sperms while it is still held in the fallopian tube. Eggs must be fertilized within the next 36 hours or it will die.

2. How does the sperm get to the egg? The sperm ejaculates from the man's penis via ejaculation and gets deposited in the vagina high up near the cervix. The sperm as soon as it gets to enter immediately begins swimming, and some will find their way straight to the cervix. It is the important phase in fertilization.

The sperm then starts their long journey towards the egg. Leaving from the cervix they enter the uterus straight. Once reached there, they swim towards the fallopian tubes. Once the sperm gets into the fallopian tubes they are free from the potential negative that can effect of the woman's immune system. It is the important phase in fertilization.

2. Fertilization: Once the sperm gets entered in the egg, a very complex chain occurs over a period of maximum 16 hours. The male and female's pronuclei move together hand in hand to the center of the egg and the amazing thing is, during IVF this can be seen down the microscope. It is the important phase in fertilization.

3. Implantation: At this phase, the embryo has been moving down towards the fallopian tubes, but one should know that at the blastocyst stage the embryo directly enters the womb. For the next few days, it will hatch out and begins to bury into the wall of the womb. It will grow positively and eventually form blood vessels connections with the mother. This phase of connecting of the embryo with the womb wall is called "implantation" and implantation is the another critical stage in getting pregnant.

At this point of implantation, the embryo is continuously sending out the chemicals into the mother's bloodstream, and about 2 weeks from fertilization, the chemicals have reached to the level which will show the pregnancy test positive. 

4. When should one seek help from a fertility doctor?

As given above, there are several complicated steps that might occur for a pregnancy to result:

  1. The woman ovulate a healthy, mature egg
  2. The man produce sufficient healthy, swimming sperm
  3. The sperm must reach the egg
  4. The egg must change its structure to become a fertilized embryo
  5. Genetic material of the embryo must be correct
  6. The embryo must divide correctly until it forms a blastocyst
  7. The blastocyst must implant in the womb without being rejected

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