Normal Conception Overview
In order to conceive and give birth to a baby, a number of things before, during and after the conception process must happen just right:
- Hormones that stimulate a female’s egg development must be properly produced and released in the brain and pituitary.
- The egg needs to be chromosomally normal and of a sufficient quality to then develop to maturity.
- To stimulate the egg’s final maturation, the brain must release enough Luteinizing Hormone.
- The ovarian follicle holding the developing egg must rupture to release the egg.
- The fallopian tube must capture the egg.
- The male’s sperm must travel from the vagina, through in the uterus and to the fallopian tube to reach the egg.
- The sperm must penetrate the cumulus cells around the egg and bind to the egg’s shell (zona pellucida).
- The successful sperm undergoes a biochemical reaction, releasing its 23 chromosomes to fertilize the egg.
- The fertilized egg then must divide, and the early embryo should continue to divide and develop.
- Three days later, the embryo should be transported from the fallopian tube into the uterus.
- The embryo must develop to the blastocyst stage, when the cell cluster develops an additional outer layer of cells; these become the placenta and other supporting tissues that will support the fetus.
- The blastocyst must hatch and attach to the endometrial lining of the uterus, which must be properly developed and ready for implantation of the hatched blastocyst.
- The process continues with complex embryonic and fetal development until the pregnancy is brought to the full term, and a baby is born.