Process Of Conception

The Process Of Conception Explained

Many couples find it helpful to fully understand the process of conception when they are trying to conceive.  By being educated on the journey of the sperm and the egg, you increase your chances of knowing when your body is ready to make a baby as well as reasons why you may be failing.


The process of conception begins with ovulation.  Every month, immature eggs begin to develop in fluid-filled, small cysts that are called follicles, in one of the ovaries.  Traditionally, one of these follicles is appointed by your body to complete development.  The designated follicle will suppress the growth of the other follicles that will all discontinue growth and then degenerate.

The one follicle that is mature will eventually rupture.  When this happens, the egg is released out of your ovary.  Typically ovulation takes place approximately two weeks prior to your next menstrual period.

Corpus Luteum Development

After ovulation has taken place, the follicle that ruptured develops into a corpus luteum, which is a structure that secretes both estrogen and progesterone.  The progesterone serves a very important purpose in the process of conception by preparing the lining of your uterus, by thickening it to allow the embryo to become implanted.

Egg Release

Once the egg has been released, it begins its journey in your fallopian tube.  It remains here waiting for a single sperm to come along and penetrate it.  The egg is usually fertilized for 24 hours or so after ovulation has taken place.  This is generally two weeks after you last period.

Menses And Fertilization

If a sperm does not arrive to fertilize the egg in time, the corpus luteum degenerates which removes those extra hormones.  When this happens, the endometrium sloughs away which results in menstrual bleeding.  The cycle will then repeat itself the following month.

If a sperm does penetrate the mature egg in time, the next step in the process of conception occurs.  The sperm fertilizes the egg upon penetration and a change takes place in the coating which prevents additional sperm from entering.

It is at this very second of fertilization that your baby's sex is determined.  Mothers are only capable of providing an X chromosome.  If the sperm is a Y, the combination of XY means that you will have a boy.  If the sperm is an X chromosome, the comb is XX and you will be having a girl.

Implantation Period

The next point if the process of conception is very complex.  Within 24 hours, the egg rapidly divides into many cells.  It still remains in your fallopian tube for three days.  As it passes through your fallopian tube to your uterus, it continues to divide even more.  Once it reaches your uterus, it attaches itself to the endometrium, which is the actual implantation process.


The egg that has divided into many cells is called a zygote.  First, it is a solid cell ball but then it transitions into a hollow ball made up of cells that is called a blastocyst.  Right before implantation takes place, the blastocyst erupts from its protective coating.  When it makes contact with your endometrium, there is an exchange of hormones that assists it in becoming attached.

Quite often, many women experience light bleeding or spotting when implantation occurs which is perfectly normal.  The endometrium becomes increasingly thick and then a plug of mucus seals the cervix.

Over the next three weeks, clumps of cells begin to form which are your baby's first nerve cells.  From the very second of conception until eight weeks later, your baby is referred to as an embryo.  Once you reach the eight week point, your baby is a fetus.


The hormone that is in your blood is called human chorionic gonadotropin.  It is produced by your cells that create the placenta.  When you take a pregnancy test, these are the hormones that are detected.  It traditionally takes three weeks from your last period to increase the hormone levels enough to be detected on a test.