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Embryo Development Stages

  • 4.8 (6 Votes)
  • 119507 views

Ever wondered how a mere egg and a sperm turn into a baby? In this article, we discuss in detail how development of embryo takes places through the stages. The Stages of Fertilization, Blastocyst, Implantation of Blastocyst, development of the Embryo and fetus are all explained.

A successful pregnancy follows some static procedures starting from sex to implantation of the embryo in the uterus lining. Embryonic development or development of embryo is an entire gamut of procedures and goes through numerous stages. It begins following the biological clock where the sperm reaches the mature egg during its opening to form a zygote. The different stages are discussed below in detail.

1. The Stage of Fertilization

This stage is known as union of gametes. The female gamete or the egg comes in contact with the male gamete or the spermatozoa inside the female reproductive system either through natural course of intercourse or through Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Normally it occurs during her ovulation, when a woman releases her mature egg or ovum to the fallopian tube. Some women release two eggs (in case of fraternal twins) as well.  If the sperm happens to reach the egg during its grand opening, it enters into the egg and a zygote is formed within 24-48 hours.

However, fertilization is not this simple and there may be a large pool of problems, which work against fertilization. Some of them are anovulation (no ovulation/no ovum release), poor egg quality, poor sperm morphology, inability of the sperm to travel to fallopian tube etc.

Stages of fertilization

2. Blastocyst Stage

As soon as the zygote/embryo is formed, the cells within keep developing constantly. This complex form of development is called Blastocyst. A Blastocyst has two layers of cells-inner cells and outer cells. The inner cells form into muscles, bones, blood and other body parts whereas the outer cells grow into Placenta at a later stage. The Blastocyst is coated with a jelly like protective layer called Zona Pellucida, which helps the Blastocyst to grow effectively. When the cells within the Blastocyst multiply themselves effectively, the Zona Pellucida gets tighter and breaks accordingly. The Blastocyst gets independent and implants itself to the uterus linings in day 10 or later. However, not all Blastocyst development is successful. Blastocyst arrest or failure happens when the cells stop dividing themselves.

Blastocyst Stage

3. Implantation of Blastocyst

After the removal of Zona Pellucida, the Blastocyst enters the uterus and implants itself to the linings/ mucus membranes of the uterus. The inner tissues of the uterus and the outer linings of the Blastocyst help in developing the Placenta. Placenta is very important for the baby to survive as it feeds the baby. However, often we hear about blighted ovum, which means the failure of the implanted uterus in its development. It occurs due to abnormalities in the chromosomes of the sperm or the egg, or the cell division in the Blastocyst.

Implantation of Blastocyst

4. Development of the Embryo

After the Blastocyst completes its implantation in the inner linings of the uterus, it turns into an embryo. This is the stage where the body of your baby starts developing their form. Mouth, throat, lower jaw, blood circulation system, heart tubes etc. start developing. The ears, arms, legs, spinal cord and everything start to form and fetus development starts from this stage. However, with many functioning taking place, many a times embryo development stage is very sensitive. The genetic abnormalities or external pressure may sometimes work against the growth of the fetus.

Development of Embryo

5. Development of the Fetus

After 12th week of fertilization, fetal development starts properly. Till this time, all the important organs of the baby forms. This is the beginning of the second trimester. In the first trimester itself the fetus grows its upper and lower extremities. At this stage, reproductive organs develop. From this stage onwards the fetus grows week by week and at the end of 9 months, it comes out to the world and become one of us.

Embryo development

There is ample amount of risk in this stage also as the development is faster and complex. Proper care and timely medical intervention is required thus at every stage of its development. 

Below is a video showing you the Fetal development month by month - all the stages of Baby Growth in the Womb.

Hope this article was interesting enough for you to explore the world of embryonic development stages. Follow Elawoman to get regular updates on fertility health and treatment.

Hope this article was interesting enough for you to explore the world of embryonic development stages. Follow Elawoman to get regular updates on fertility health and treatment.

Dr. Surveen Ghumman

About The Author

Infertility Specialist, Obstetrician Dr. Surveen Ghumman
Delhi

Dr. Surveen Ghumman is an infertility specialist and gynecologist specializing in IVF, Reproductive Endocrinology, Recurrent failures of implantation, Embryology, Fertility preservation and Surrogacy. Dr. Surveen has completed MBBS from Christian Medical College, Ludhiana in 1986 and MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology from Government Medical College, Amritsar in 1991. She has also pursued certificate courses in ART and Clinical Embryology from Manipal University and fellowships in Minimal Access Surgeries. She has also pursued Micromanipulation in ART in the year 2011. Dr. Surveen is practicing at The Fertility Clinic IVF Solutions and Max Super Specialty Hospital. For more information, visit elawoman.com

SOURCES AND REFERENCES:

  1. Blocked fallopian tubes causes and treatment fallopian tube, Elawoman - 2017
  2. What is egg white cervical mucus mucus, Elawoman - 2017
  3. Best ways to boost sperm count and increase male fertility sperm, Elawoman - 2017
  4. All you need to know about embryo freezing embryo, Elawoman - 2017
  5. Know growth of 12 weeks fetus, while 12 weeks pregnant fetus, Elawoman - 2017

6 Comments

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Garima Chandra

When can I have a pregnancy test to confirm my pregnancy? It has been a week since I have missed my periods.

Oct. 4, 2018, 10 a.m. 4.5

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Meera Yadav

Normal miscarriages take place during the development of the embryo stage. One should always take proper care of herself by having a proper diet plan and accident safety.

Sept. 25, 2018, 11:53 a.m. 5.0

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Preeti Sinha

What happens to the first stage of fertilization, if a woman has blocked fallopian tube.

Sept. 1, 2018, 7:48 a.m. 4.5

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Nirmaan Singh

It was an educative experience reading this article. Good share!

July 11, 2018, 10:46 a.m. 5.0

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James Nadal

Excellent pictorial repesentation of every stage. Just loved this blog! Thanks for sharing!

June 1, 2018, 5:16 p.m. 5.0

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Vikas Ravtal

April 19, 2018, 3:41 p.m. 4.5

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It is not advised to self-diagnose or treat any medical condition or disease following the information given in this article. We insist you to consult a registered practitioner and never try to replace their advice or discontinue treatment in between by relying solely on the information obtained. External links to different websites as well as videos given on the website serve the purpose of sharing knowledge only. Ela being an Independent Medical Information platform is neither responsible nor guarantees the authenticity, reliability, and accuracy of these videos and websites in any way. We do not intend the information displayed here to be used for a medical emergency, if you seek medical attention for yourself (or any other person with whom you want to share the information with), we advise you to directly get in touch with the hospital or the doctor.

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