The process of getting pregnant can be straightforward and happen naturally for some, while others may struggle with one or more of the steps in the process. Here’s what you need to know about the conception process and what’s involved at each stage when you’re trying to get pregnant.
The 4 steps that must happen to get pregnant
Getting pregnant is a process. Whether you conceive and become pregnant naturally or through a fertility treatment such as IVF (in vitro fertilization), there are a series of steps that need to happen to result in a successful pregnancy.
There are many possible complications, and several factors that need to be in place at each stage, so if you’re planning to or are having difficulty getting pregnant, contact us to schedule a comprehensive exam and reproductive evaluation.
Step one: sperm needs to reach the fallopian tubes
Once the sperm is released, it has to make its way through the cervix and uterus in search of a mature egg to fertilize. Sperm can live for up to six days, but issues with the sperm cells or conditions within the uterus can affect the sperm’s ability to reach an egg in time.
Step two: ovulation
Ovulation is the stage of the menstrual cycle where the ovaries release a mature egg capable of getting fertilized by a healthy sperm cell. First, the egg travels from the ovary into a fallopian tube. Although sperm can live for up to six days, a mature egg only remains in a fallopian tube for about 24 hours, so even if a sperm makes its way through, there’s still the matter of timing.
Keeping track of your menstrual cycle can help you estimate when you’re most likely to be ovulating (the time frame when a mature egg leaves the ovaries and is ready for fertilization).
Step three: fertilization
Fertilization happens when sperm successfully connects with an egg in a fallopian tube. Once the egg is fertilized, it begins to split into embryonic cells that have to make their way out of the fallopian tube and into the uterus.
Step four: implantation
For pregnancy to happen, the fertilized egg must implant in the lining of the uterus, the final step in the process. Even if all of the other steps happen correctly, pregnancy is only possible when the fertilized egg successfully implants into the uterus lining. When implantation doesn’t happen, the uterus sheds its lining, which results in a monthly period.
When should you worry about infertility?
In general, most people begin to seek treatment for infertility after six months of not being able to get pregnant. However, everyone is different and the road to conception and pregnancy is a very complicated and delicate system.
If you’re concerned about your ability to get pregnant or have any questions about infertility, contact us to discuss your options. There is no set timeline, and it can take longer or shorter for some people to conceive.
For more information about fertility, pregnancy, and the OB/GYN services at Memorial Women’s Specialists, contact us today to schedule an appointment at our office in Houston.