Ingredient 1: The Biological Highway to Pregnancy
You might think that this is going to be some rehashed version of the “talk” that your mother gave you around the age of 12 or maybe some info you learned from your friends. No worries, we know that the whole “penis/vagina” thing isn’t all that getting pregnant is about. Not only do some parents not have both pieces of anatomy, but sometimes that level of knowledge just isn’t enough to achieve your pregnancy goal.
Most people assume that they know what it takes to get pregnant. Many men especially, when their female partners have been surveyed, have been reported to state something along the lines of, “Let’s just keep having sex. It (pregnancy) will eventually happen”.
Although this does happen all of the time for a lot of people, it doesn’t work all of the time for everyone. The fact is, “just having sex” works for those who already unknowingly have all of the ingredients for creating a child. It’s not just about the sperm and the egg. There are necessary biologic conditions that assist the sperm in getting to where it needs to go and that make the egg available and viable. These conditions are just as much a part of the mechanics of fertility as the sperm and the egg themselves.
The Female “Highway”
Assuming that both the egg and the sperm are healthy, we know that the process requires the sperm to travel to the egg. During intercourse, the penis propels the sperm from its opening up towards the egg. It is less commonly known that there is an actual “road” for the sperm to travel and “food” required for it to sustain itself in order to complete its journey.
Most people do not understand that this is a crucial part of the fertile process. The “road” is made of two sections; the female and the male. In the female, healthy, cervical mucus that comes from glands in the cervix during a woman’s fertile time is the upper section of the highway. In my previous blog we have discussed observing this “fertile fluid”, but here you will learn why the sperm needs this particular quality in order to reach its goal.
A women’s body produces cervical mucus leading up to and during the fertile period. It usually begins a white, dry substance, turning into a white or yellow tinted lotion-like substance that is often undetected. If you are wearing dark-colored underwear, it can show up as a small amount of hardened wax-like streaks. This mucus is not yet fertile. When seen under a microscope, it looks like a brush. Imagine walking through a thick patch of weeds. There may be briars and lots of little burrs stuck to your pant legs as you try to push through the roughage. The going is difficult. This is similar to how sperm attempt to get through to the egg when this lotion-like, low or no fertility cervical mucus is in the cervical canal. It does not move through it easily. It can become stuck and may be unable to reach its goal.
During the fertile period, however, the cervical mucus takes on a role much more conducive to the motion. When fertile mucus starts, you may feel as if you wet yourself. It can look like a water spot on your underwear, visible no matter their color. Some women actually see it as a string of slippery clear gel. Under a microscope, this fertile mucus looks like the leaves of a ferning plant. The National Library of Medicine1 confirms this fertile ferning pattern. All “leaves” point in one direction – up towards the egg. The sperm travels easily along and can reach their goal with little difficulty.
According to the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology2, the macromolecules of cervical mucus have spaces in between shaped similarly to the head of a sperm. During a woman’s fertile period, these spaces are larger, adding to the ease with which the sperm travel upward. Fertile fluid is also more alkaline than the usually acidic vaginal environment during non-fertile times of the month.
The Male “Highway” and Its Travelers
The male portion is the beginning of the road to conception. For guys, fertility isn’t just about their sperm. Many men feel that their “manliness” might be judged by the amount of sperm produced alone when it comes to getting their partner pregnant. They might fear that if they don’t produce “enough” sperm, they won’t be successful. In all reality, conception isn’t dependent on a large amount of sperm. In fact, the Geneva Foundation3 states that sperm’s shape relates to fertility more closely than how many sperm a man produces and that a man produces more “abnormally” shaped sperm than “normal”.
Fertility is also dependent on a man’s semen. Sometimes the words semen and sperm are used interchangeably, but this isn’t correct. Semen is the fluid “highway” sperm use to travel from their source to the fertile cervical fluid and onward towards the egg. Semen comes from a different part of the body than the sperm and the two meet on their way out of the penis. According to Healthline4, semen feeds and protects the sperm as well as providing a “roadway”. It contains proteins and glucose for energy and provides an alkaline environment to protect the sperm from the acidity normally found in the penis and vagina. Without this “highway”, the sperm would be unable to make the first leg of their journey to conception.
The sperm utilizes the semen to propel them upward toward the egg. The fertile cervical fluid “current” catches the semen and allows it to flow along to its destination. Both the semen and the cervical mucus nourish and protect the sperm.
As a female, you can use this fluid as an indicator that you are likely fertile. If you have never noticed that slippery wet feeling around the time that your ovulation predictor kit tells you that you should be ovulating, you may want to discuss this with your doctor.
Slippery egg white cervical mucus and sufficient healthy semen are two of the working parts necessary for the process of making a baby that most people do not think about, yet they are just as important as the sperm and the egg. At Welltwigs, we suggest using the three main female fertility signs first to help you achieve conceiving your little one. Using our App, you can track the status of your cervical mucus and our algorithms will take that into account to predict your fertile days. We have created a highly efficient fertility solution enabling you to keep track of your fertility signs, we offer in-depth, evidence-based scientific research and we welcome any questions you may have along the way!