Knowing how your body works will help you learn about the process of getting pregnant. Because there may be many factors that affect this process, both the man and the woman should be tested if they are having problems. On the next page there are pictures showing the normal process.
Getting pregnant can occur only if many events take place in order. When a problem occurs at any point, you may not be able to conceive. These are the normal steps that need to take place in order to get pregnant:
The woman releases a mature egg that is picked up by an open fallopian tube. This should occur about thirteen to fourteen days before your next period.
The man produces enough healthy, moving sperm. The sperm must be able to pass from the testes out through the penis.
Ejaculate and deposit sperm
When the man ejaculates, the sperm enters the woman's vagina around the time that she will release the egg (12 -14 days before her next period).
Receive the sperm
The woman receives sperm into the vagina, the sperm pass into the cervix and uterus, then up into the fallopian tube to make contact with the mature egg.
Fertilize the egg
The sperm enters the egg. This takes place in the fallopian tube and must occur within 18 hours of when the egg was released. The woman's fallopian tube must allow the fertilized egg to pass into the uterus, where it can protect and nourish the growing fetus.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/30/2010
Copyright © 12/21/2010 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#4299
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