what does conceive means in pregnancy

what does conceive means in pregnancy

what does conceive means in pregnancy

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Conception is the time when sperm travels up through the vagina, into the uterus, and fertilizes an egg found in the fallopian tube.

Conception — and ultimately, pregnancy — can involve a surprisingly complicated series of steps. Everything must fall into place for a pregnancy to be carried to term.

When does conception occur?

Conception occurs during the part of a woman’s menstrual cycle called ovulation. Doctors consider day 1 of a menstrual cycle the first day of a woman’s period.

Ovulation usually occurs around the midpoint of a woman’s menstrual cycle. This would fall around day 14 in a 28-day cycle, but it’s important to remember that even normal cycle lengths can vary.

During ovulation, one of the ovaries releases an egg, which then travels down one of the fallopian tubes. If there’s sperm present in a woman’s fallopian tube when this happens, the sperm could fertilize the egg.

Usually, an egg has about 12 to 24 hours where it can be fertilized by sperm. However, sperm can live for several days in a woman’s body.

Therefore, when the ovary releases the egg, sperm that are already present from intercourse a few days before could fertilize it. Or, if a woman has sex during the time the egg has been released, the sperm could fertilize the just-released egg.


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what does conceive means in pregnancy
what does conceive means in pregnancy

Conception comes down to timing, the health of a woman’s reproductive tract, and the quality of a man’s sperm.

Most doctors usually recommend having unprotected sex starting about three to six days before you ovulate, as well as the day you ovulate if you wish to become pregnant. This increases the chances that sperm will be present in the fallopian tube to fertilize the egg once it’s released.

How does conception occur?

Conception can happen just after ovulation. Ovulation is the point in the menstrual cycle when the ovaries release an egg.

In a regular cycle, ovulation usually occurs around 10–16 days before a person’s next period. However, many have irregular cycles that change in length every month, so the exact day of ovulation often varies.

Fertilization can then happen in several ways:

  • Sexual intercourse: During sex, sperm can enter the vagina. From here, it can swim up toward the uterus and find its way to the egg. This can take several days, with healthy sperm surviving inside the body for up to 5 days.
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI): This involves a doctor inserting sperm into the uterus through a thin tube. A doctor may do this for people trying to get pregnant via sperm donation or for those opting for surrogacy. Surrogacy is when a person other than the biological parents carries the pregnancy.
  • IVF: This involves a doctor taking sperm and eggs from two people and combining them in a laboratory setting. IVF cannot guarantee fertilization will occur but creates the best circumstances possible for it to happen.
what does conceive means in pregnancy
what does conceive means in pregnancy

Conception in IVF and surrogacy

Conception in IVF is unique, as it takes place outside of the human body. However, it is still conception.

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The process typically involvesTrusted Source:

  • a female taking a course of fertility drugs, which cause the ovaries to release more eggs than usual, and at predictable times
  • a doctor removing these eggs from the body after ovulation
  • a doctor fertilizing the eggs with sperm, either from a donor or a partner
  • the fertilized eggs growing outside of the body for several days until they become embryos
  • a doctor inserting the embryos into the uterus

If at least one embryo implants, then pregnancy begins.

With surrogacy, conception can occur inside or outside the surrogate’s body. It can depend on whether the surrogate’s eggs are involved, or whether they are receiving eggs from someone else.

If they are using their own eggs, a doctor may use IUI to create the circumstances for fertilization inside the body. If the surrogate is not using their own eggs, a doctor will use IVF to fertilize eggs outside the body.

what does conceive means in pregnancy
what does conceive means in pregnancy

What can prevent conception?

Conception is only possible when sperm have access to an egg. Anything that interferes with this may prevent conception. This could include:

  • a low sperm count, which means there is a low volume of sperm in a male’s ejaculate
  • sperm that are not motile, meaning they do not move or swim efficiently
  • anovulation, which is when someone does not ovulate
  • infrequent or irregular ovulation, which can make conception more difficult
  • inflammation or damage to the ovaries or uterus
  • blockages in the fallopian tubes

In IVF, conception can be prevented if fertilization does not occur successfully or if the embryos stop growing before a doctor implants them. Embryo quality can also be low, meaning there is a low chance of an embryo implanting into the lining of the uterus.

People can intentionally prevent conception via contraceptives, which are a group of devices and medications. They include:

  • condoms
  • diaphragms
  • intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • hormone pills, patches, injections, or implants
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Why Does Conception Matter
Why Does Conception Matter

Why Does Conception Matter?

Conception is a critical step in the pregnancy process. If a woman does not ovulate, she cannot get pregnant naturally. Likewise, if a man’s sperm is not strong enough to swim up to the fallopian tubes, it will not be available to fertilize an egg, and conception cannot happen.

It’s important to point out that fertility treatments may increase your chances of getting pregnant.

As a woman ages, the odds of getting pregnant decreases. That’s because, at birth, there are about one to two million eggs present in the ovaries. This is the number of eggs you will have during your lifetime.

In addition to the number of eggs decreasing, the quality of the eggs also changes. As a woman gets older, the remaining eggs are more likely to have abnormal chromosomes.

Plus, age also increases the risk of uterine fibroids and endometriosis, which can affect fertility. All of these factors impact ovulation, and consequently, the ability to conceive.

In order for conception to take place, a man’s sperm must also be healthy and able to fertilize an egg. Although several sperm are available to make the trip to the fallopian tube, only one is needed for fertilization.

According to a 2011 review published in the journal Reviews of Urology, male-related fertility is an issue with age as sperm concentrations, motility, and volume all decrease as men get older.

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