Many couples who are planning a conception of a child ask a question: how does conception occur? It is worth noting that it is not always possible to get pregnant on the first try. It is considered the norm that conception may occur within a year from the moment of the beginning of practicing unprotected sex. If a couple cannot conceive a child for more than a year, then one of the partners or both are diagnosed with “infertility”, which requires scrupulous treatment. However, even in the absence of such a diagnosis, some women cannot become pregnant. What is the cause of this situation? Obviously, they may be couples who do not know anything about the process of conception and have sex when the chances of getting pregnant are not the highest (the period of female ovulation).
For the female and male cells to merge in the Fallopian tubes of a woman, it is necessary that a woman’s ovum successfully ovulates and leave the mature follicle. A full ovum will be ready for fertilization, further segmentation and fetal development.
After sexual intercourse, spermatozoa must travel a certain distance to reach the Fallopian tubes. This takes about 2-6 hours. There they meet an egg. After this, the spermatozoa struggle to penetrate into its elastic surface. To overcome the radiate crown – the layer of follicular cells surrounding the ovum – the sperm uses the hyaluronidase enzyme located on the surface of the head and splits the extracellular matrix that connects the cells of the radiate crown. One spermatozoon is not able to destroy the radiate crown, it requires the exposure of a large number of spermatozoa to loosen and scatter the cells of the radiant crown. The sperm that first reaches the zona pellucida (the membrane that is located behind the radial crown) is most likely to undergo fertilization. Fertilization of the female cell can be identified as the moment when conception occurs.
For the fertilization of an egg, sperm must enter the body at about the same time when the egg leaves the follicle. It may seem that this is easy to achieve, but the ovule after ovulation lives for only 24 hours or even less, and the sperm remains capable of fertilization only for several days. Thus, sexual intercourse should occur at the most appropriate time, if you want to conceive a child.
In this aspect, the question “how long does sperm live” is significant. Some scientists believe that spermatozoa live for up to 5 days. However, it should be borne in mind that the preservation of sperm motility does not necessarily indicate their fertilizing ability. Under the most favorable conditions, when the male cells are in the cervical mucus in the woman’s Fallopian tubes against the background of high estrogen content in the female body, the fertilizing ability of spermatozoa lasts for up to 2 days after being ejaculated in the vagina.
How to improve chances for conception?
If you are a man and you cannot conceive a child, you may have reproductive problems and you may need to see a doctor. In addition, the following recommendations will help you to increase the chances of conception naturally.
1. Try not to overheat the groin area. The most suitable temperature for the development of spermatozoa is 35 °C. The temperature rises when you use heated car seats, wear warm clothes and attend saunas.
2. Temporarily (or, even better, forever) abandon bad habits, in particular smoking, alcohol abuse, as well as using substances that have narcotic effects. Toxins affect the male sex cells, as a result of which their mobility, performance and concentration deteriorate.
3. Try to get enough sleep and lead an active lifestyle. Constant lack of sleep and a sedentary lifestyle worsen the quality of sperm.
4. Avoid stress. Constant psychosocial problems can lead to deterioration of erection and other sexual disorders.
In the case of low sperm volume, chances for conception decrease. Products that increase the amount of sperm contain zinc, since it enhances the level of testosterone. These include eggs, nuts, pumpkin seeds, corn, beef, natural yogurts, oysters, seafood, etc. In addition, eat foods rich in folic acid. Folic acid helps the body produce spermatozoa with a normal set of chromosomes. It is found in whole grains, beans, avocados, green leafy vegetables, etc. In addition, the male body needs vitamin E and vitamin C.