Pregnancy Pathway, Conception


Today: Con­cep­tion!

For com­plete graph­ic, see Feb. 5 or 23 post.


The health of the moth­er and her pri­or expo­sure to sperm have a dra­mat­ic effect on con­cep­tion. To find out why and how, we have to start with this ques­tion: 

What is con­cep­tion?

Is it fer­til­iza­tion, a process by which an egg absorbs a sperm, engulf­ing the male’s half of the genet­ic code? Per­haps it is the point at which this egg/sperm con­coc­tion (the cor­pus) reach­es the uterus and the tro­phoblast cells begin to invade the endometri­um (uter­ine lin­ing)?

Trophoblast Invastion? No...Chihuly glass exhibit at the Desert Botanical Gardens, Phoenix AZ

Tro­phoblast Invas­tion? No…Chihuly glass exhib­it at the Desert Botan­i­cal Gar­dens, Phoenix AZ

Tro­phoblast inva­sion caus­es spi­ral arter­ies in the mother’s cir­cu­la­tion to open and form a pool that will nour­ish the fetus. Depend­ing on the “dis­cus­sion” between the mother’s immune sys­tem and tro­phoblast, this inva­sion may go well or poor­ly. How well it goes will affect the course of the preg­nan­cy.

Or, what about the point around 8 weeks post onset of last men­stru­al cycle at which the respon­si­bil­i­ty for nour­ish­ment of these cells is trans­ferred from the cor­pus to the pla­cen­ta? By this point about 30% of poten­tial preg­nan­cies have spon­ta­neous­ly abort­ed because of genet­ic or inflam­ma­tion prob­lems.

Anoth­er can­di­date is the Quick­en­ing, the point the Bible refers to as the start of life. This is  the occa­sion — around 4 months post onset of last men­stru­al cycle — when the moth­er first sens­es move­ment in her womb. Is this con­cep­tion? It cer­tain­ly ris­es to the test of con­scious­ness of a phe­nom­e­non (oth­er­wise known as a con­cept).

What if the engulf­ing of the sperm hap­pens in a dish in the lab­o­ra­to­ry? What if large dos­es of egg induc­ing med­ica­tions are required to prompt eggs to mature and con­sid­er engulf­ing sperm? What if hor­mones are required to allow the first few cells to grav­i­tate toward and inbed them­selves into a uter­ine sur­face not real­ly that friend­ly to their con­tin­u­a­tion?

You can see that it is not a sim­ple mat­ter to estab­lish a start­ing point. There are sev­er­al process­es that must go right to form a viable human. All along the way, the mother’s health plays a key role. Inter­est­ing­ly, the extent of expo­sure to the father’s sperm also plays a role, as do immune fac­tors in the com­bined mother’s and father’s genes.


Most impor­tant for our         pur­pos­es here is that women who are reg­u­lar aer­o­bic exer­cis­ers pri­or to preg­nan­cy or who begin in ear­ly preg­nan­cy show reduced risk for devel­op­ments of the pla­cen­ta that pro­duce a dys­func­tion­al preg­nan­cy.

Upcom­ing posts will dis­cuss mater­nal health and sperm expo­sure in more detail.