You may think you know how a baby is born, man meets women, they make love and nine months later a baby pops out or some of you may even know that when an egg combines with sperm it gives birth to a new young one, well both these theories seems true but there is more to it if we look at them from the biological point of view. If you are really interested to know how exactly a baby comes into existence in this world then you need to better understand exactly where sperm and eggs come from? Or how they find each other and combine to create a new life?
Read on to discover the fascinating biological facts behind getting pregnant.
What happens inside a woman’s body?
For a woman the possibility of pregnancy begins in the ovaries, the small organs which are attached to either side of the uterus.
The ovaries are the main storehouse of female eggs which are made even before a baby is born. According to the experts every girl is born with close to 4,50,000 eggs in her ovaries. Most of these eggs begin dying instantly and the remaining starts to decrease as a female grows older. A female starts to release eggs from the beginning of her first period till the age of 45-55 years.
Before moving further we need to first understand the process of ovulation. Each month, usually sometime during the middle of menstrual cycle, between one and three eggs start to reach maturity in one of the ovaries. The ripest egg from the all the eggs released is then released and is quickly sucked up by the tulip-shaped opening of the nearest Fallopian tube (please refer the above image). This release is known as ovulation. The ripening of the eggs and the timing of ovulation are controlled by several different hormones.
The exact time of ovulation varies according to the length of a female’s menstrual cycle. In an average cycle of 28 days, it is most likely that ovulation will occur on the 12th and 15th days, counting day 1 as the first day of your last period.
The life of an average egg is about 12 to 24 hours and it can be fertilized during this period. To give birth to a new life the egg has to meet up with a male sperm on its way to the uterus otherwise it disintegrates and that’s the end of its journey.
Unlike a woman’s body where a single egg takes about one month to mature a man’s body is constantly at work and produces millions of sperms continuously. The sole purpose in life of each sperm, is to swim towards and penetrate an egg. From start to finish it takes about 64 to 72 days to create a new sperm cell. Since the average sperm lives only a few weeks in a man’s body, and as many as 300 million are set free with each ejaculation, the sperm producing department of the body is kept very busy.
The hormone which is responsible for producing sperm in men is known as testosterone. The production of sperm starts in the testicles, the two glands beneath the penis. The testicles are quite sensitive to temperature and that is the reason why they hang outside the body. To produce healthy sperm testicles need to stay at a slightly cooler temperature than the rest of the body, around 34 degrees C/ 94 degrees F. Once the sperm is produced in a man’s body it is stored in epididymis which is a 40-foot long coiled tube in the testicle, where it is then mixed up with semen just before ejaculation.
So the sperm production factory in a man’s body works continuously and produces millions of sperm and releases them during ejaculation but out of those millions only one can fertilize each egg.
There is a lot of discussion on what factors the gender of baby depends., well the simple answer to this question is that it depends on which type of sperm burrows into the egg first; sperm with a Y chromosome will make a boy baby, and sperm with an X chromosome will make a girl. There are plenty of myths about how to conceive a boy or a girl, and some are backed by a bit of scientific evidence, but on the whole, a child’s sex is determined randomly.