Trying To Conceive
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is the culminating step leading to pregnancy in the human. It begins with the development of the egg in the ovary. This development is controlled by signals produced in the brain. There are 2 important signals from the brain that manipulate the ovary. The first is FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone. FSH stimulates the eggs to develop into fluid-filled sacs or cysts; they are called “follicles.”
It takes approximately two weeks for an egg to mature in the ovary. During this time, the developing follicle produces the female hormone “estrogen”. Estrogen causes the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, to grow and become receptive to the developing embryo.
A number of problems can occur in this process causing infertility for the couple.
The second signal from the brain is LH or Luteinizing Hormone, which triggers ovulation. Ovulation is the release of the mature egg and usually occurs around day 14 of the menstrual cycle. The released egg makes its way into the uterus through the fallopian tube. When sperm are introduced into the vagina during intercourse, they make their way into the uterus through the cervix and into the tubes where they join with or fertilize the egg to form the embryo. Several days after ovulation and fertilization, the embryo makes its way into the uterine cavity and implants onto the endometrial lining where it develops in to the fetus. A number of problems can occur in this process causing infertility for the couple.