Ensuring fertilization and embryo implantation

Sperm can live in the genital tract up to 48 – 72 hours or even longer. The most motile sperm will progress through the uterus and the fallopian tubes, where fertilization occurs. Only several hundred sperm will succeed in reaching the egg (oocyte). Fertilization of the egg by the sperm normally occurs in the fallopian tube.

The fertilized egg then begins to divide first into 2, then 4, then 8 cells (the preimplantation embryo), and continues its journey towards the uterus. After about 5 days the embryo hatches out of the outer coating (zona pellucida) and buries itself in the thick lining of the uterus and begins to grow (the process of implantation). Rarely an embryo implants into the fallopian tubes and this is called an ectopic pregnancy

The process of fertilization requires deposition of sperms in the vagina, their transportation to the fallopian tubes, egg pick up by the tubes, fertilization of the egg with the sperm, development of early embryo, transportation of this developing embryo to the uterine cavity on day 5 for implantation. The process of implantation requires normal development of the endometrial lining, normal developmental potential of the embryo with formation of good trophoblastic tissue.

Process of implantation once embryo reaches the uterine cavity

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Once it implants, the cells should divide & differentiate to form a good fetus that will result in live birth. Failure at any stage could result in a miscarriage.

Thus fertilization & development of the baby depends upon such a complex array of mechanisms, it is surprising that it is ever successful. However, failures in fertilization may not always stem from a failed interaction between the egg and the sperm. The problems can begin long before this i.e. in the egg or sperm itself or transportation mechanism. In a normal couple with no problem pregnancy rate per cycle varies from 12 – 20 % only.

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Dr. Patil’s Fertility and Endoscopy Clinic

Center for Assisted Reproductive Technology, Endoscopic Surgery and Andrology

No 1, Uma Admirality, First Floor, Bannerghatta Road, Bangalore - 560029
Ph: 080 - 41201357, 41462419 Mobile: 9945221622

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