Where does fertilisation occur? All you need to know about fertilisation.

You might be planning for a pregnancy or trying to understand how successful pregnancy happens. One of the fundamental keys to a successful pregnancy is knowing about fertilisation. Knowing where does fertilisation occurs and the importance of fertilisation can bring you one step closer to figuring out successful pregnancies. To understand the process, here are a few things you should know.

  1.   What is fertilisation?

Fertilisation is when a sperm and an egg combine to form an embryo, which will develop into a baby after nine months. Fertilisation is a crucial step in pregnancy. Without fertilisation, you cannot get pregnant.

  1.   Where does fertilisation occur?

Many people might misunderstand that fertilisation occurs in the uterus. However, it is not true. Fertilisation occurs in the fallopian tubes. After intercourse, the sperm from the ejaculate travels through the cervix into the vagina (womb). Then, it travels further through the fallopian tube to reach the eggs. The eggs are typically released from the ovary during ovulation. If one of the sperms manages to combine with the egg, it indicates that the fertilisation process is a success. After fertilisation, the combination of egg and sperm forms an embryo which will be implanted in the womb. If a couple has fertility problems, they may have trouble conceiving. Thus, they would have to undergo fertility treatments like IVF treatment. IVF treatment will have the egg and sperm fertilised outside of the uterus. It will be done in a laboratory on a petri dish. After fertilisation, the doctor will insert the fertilised egg or embryo into the womb to form a baby. 

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  1.   When does fertilisation happen?

Fertilisation usually occurs during the time of ovulation. Ovulation is the process where a matured egg is released from the ovary. It will then travel through the fallopian tube, where it waits to be fertilised by the sperm. If fertilisation does not occur, the egg will shed along with the uterus lining through menstruation.

  1.   How fertility problems affect the chances of pregnancy

Fertility problems can significantly impact a couple’s chances of getting pregnant. The effects of fertility problems can be devastating, and heartbreaking and may even cause emotional stress in relationships. Understanding how fertility problems can affect the chances of pregnancy is crucial for couples trying to start a family. Here are some of the issues that reduce the chances of conceiving:

–          Blocks in the fallopian tube

Knowing where does fertilisation occur will show you that the fallopian tube is an essential organ in the female reproductive system. When there is a problem in the fallopian tube, it indicates signs of fertility problems. Blocked fallopian tubes are a common problem faced by women with fertility issues. When the fallopian tube gets blocked, it restricts the passage for sperm to travel towards the egg. Thus, fertilisation does not occur. Doctors recommend fertility treatments like IVF to help with conceiving when the tubes are blocked.

–          Endometriosis  

Endometriosis is when the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus grows outside. The growth of the tissues can interfere with fertilisation by blocking or distorting the fallopian tube. It eventually affects their normal functioning, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg.

–          Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that can affect a woman’s chance to conceive. World Health Organization stated that around 116 million women suffer from PCOS. In PCOS, high insulin levels in the body can lead to an increase in androgen, a male hormone in women. It can cause changes in the ovaries and interfere with ovulation. The hormone imbalance can lead to the enlargement and development of cysts due to eggs not maturing and releasing as they should. It can lead to irregular or absent menstrual cycles and disrupt ovulation, making it difficult for a woman to get pregnant. Women with PCOS need proper treatment to balance their hormone levels and increase pregnancy chances.

–          Male infertility

Male infertility refers to the inability to contribute to conceiving a child. It can affect fertilisation negatively. For fertilisation to happen, the sperm’s health should be in good condition. A healthy sperm count should be at least 15 million and above, and the sperm should have good motility and shape. If the sperm’s health is below average, then it may not be able to penetrate the egg and fertilise it.

–          Unknown reason

It is a situation where the regular fertility test cannot detect the cause of infertility. Even though it is difficult to figure out, it can be caused by conditions and factors like age-related infertility, ovulation problem, and many more. These conditions can impact the ability of the egg and sperm to meet and fertilise, resulting in difficulties in conceiving. It is essential to consult a doctor earlier to check the fertility status.

  1.   What are the differences between natural fertilisation and fertilisation through treatments?

Natural fertilisation is when sperm and egg fertilise naturally in the fallopian tube without medication intervention. When sexual intercourse happens, sperm are deposited into the vagina. It then passes through the uterus towards the fallopian tube, where it encounters the egg released from the ovary. Fertilisation through treatments refers to medical procedures that assist the fertilisation process. However, where does fertilisation occur with medical intervention? That can vary depending on the procedure. There are different types of fertility treatments:

–          In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

It is the most well-known form of fertilisation treatment. Eggs are collected from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory dish. Upon fertilisation, the embryo will be transferred to the womb. IVF may be suggested for endometriosis, PCOS and more.

–          Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

 ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg. ICSI is suggested when the sperm has difficulties penetrating the egg or when the sperm count is low. Doctors will recommend ICSI if the partner has poor sperm health.

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–          Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

IUI is a procedure where sperm are directly placed into the womb. It is usually done near the time of ovulation to increase the chances of fertilisation. Doctors may suggest IUI to couples with low sperm count, mild endometriosis or unexplained infertility.

While natural fertilisation and fertilisation through treatments aim to achieve pregnancy, they differ in how they facilitate the fertilisation process. Fertilisation treatments can be used when natural fertilisation is not possible or has not been successful. Taking fertility treatment may affect your mental health negatively. It can put you under stress, depression or even anxiety. However, getting enough support physically, mentally and emotionally will help you cope-up with the process and pass the hurdle before seeing the light at the end.

  1.   What happens during the implantation process?

After knowing where does fertilisation occur, it is now time to understand the next process, which is implantation. Implantation is when a fertilised egg attaches itself to the womb’s lining and grows into a developing embryo. It is crucial that the embryo sticks to the womb for a successful pregnancy. If the embryo does not stick to the womb, it can be due to problems like

–          Hormonal imbalance – hormonal imbalances can affect the timing and success of implantation. Eg: Reduced progesterone levels.

–          Poor egg quality – egg quality decreases as women age. When the quality of the eggs is lower, it makes implantation difficult to occur. Thus, elder women trying to get pregnant may go through difficulties to achieve pregnancy. They might even require a few rounds of IVF before a successful conception.

–          Lifestyle factors- lifestyle factors like smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, increase in stress levels can affect the implantation process and increase the risk of pregnancy loss.

In most cases, if implantation does not occur in the first round, there are chances for successful implantation to happen in the next round. Thus, do not worry if you could not conceive in the first round. However, if implantation does not occur repeatedly, it may indicate a fertility problem. It is important to seek a doctor to determine the cause and get the proper treatment.

  1.   What to do while preparing for pregnancy?

A healthy pregnancy starts with a healthy body and lifestyle. To ensure pregnancy becomes a success, you can take a few steps before and after fertilisation and implantation to give pregnancy the best possible start.

–          Consult the doctor

Before trying to get pregnant, it is a good idea to schedule a visit with the doctor. It will allow you to discuss any health concerns and ensure that you are in good health.

–          Healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy food, exercising regularly, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption and managing stress can help increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

–          Prenatal care

After knowing you are pregnant, make an appointment with the doctor to start prenatal care. It will include regular check-ups and tests to monitor your health and your baby’s health.

Fertilisation is the key to a successful pregnancy. Understanding how and where does fertilisation occur help in understanding about pregnancy. After having a better understanding, it can be easier to plan the pregnancy with your partner. If you need help or advice, do not hesitate to consult a doctor or a fertility specialist. They will personalize your plan according to your needs and help you achieve a successful pregnancy.  

 Learn more about Fertilisation here : Fertilisation

This blog is intended for educational purposes only. All contents here is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consult with your health care professional to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.

(Everybody has a chance to build a family) by Dr Navdeep