What is Ovulation and Fertilization in Women?

Ovulation is the process among fertile woman which takes place when one or more eggs are released from any one of the two ovaries. Every fertile woman releases around 15 to 20 matured eggs monthly through any one of the ovaries. Highly matured or ripest eggs are released first than others and make their way towards the fallopian tubes which connect ovary to the uterus or womb.

Ovulation occurs when some hormonal changes in the body stimulates an ovary to release egg which generally happens after or before 12 to 16 days of last menstrual period or next menstrual period respectively. One of the eggs gets matured and released during first part of each menstrual cycle and our body starts secreting estrogen hormone in order to make uterus lining strong and thick for creating a sperm friendly environment.

High level of estrogen hormone stimulates the secretion of another hormone called LH (luteinising hormone causing matured egg to release from ovary after 24 to 36 hours of secretion. A well matured egg can be fertilised only in next 24 hours after ovulation. If a released egg does not get chance to be fertilised, uterus lining starts getting shed out which called is called as period begins.

If an egg gets fertilized (within the survival period of 24 hours) with a sperm (survival period up to five days), uterus lining does not shed out and starts preparing for receiving baby. Fertilization is the process though which an egg meets the sperm into the fallopian tube and make a zygote (double celled).

Ovulation is controlled by the hypothalamus of brain as it send instructions to the pituitary gland (in anterior lobe) for secreting luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone between 10th and 19th day after menstruation.

Phases of Ovulation

Ovulation phase is the stage which occurs during elevated level of hormones in the body during each menstrual cycle. There are three phases of ovulation:

  • Periovulatory phase means follicular phase during which outer layer of ovum starts mucifying and expanding. Thickening of uterus lining also takes place.
  • Ovulatory phase means ovulation phase during which an egg is released from an exit hole (made due to an enzyme release) of ovary and enters to the fallopian tube. It is called as the period of fertility which generally lasts from 24 to 48 hours.
  • Postovulatory phase or luteal phase during which luteinizing hormone is secreted. An egg can be fertilized and implanted into the womb or can be unfertilized and slowly stops producing hormones then uterus lining starts breaking down and menstruation occurs.

What is Ovulation Period/Best Time to Conceive

Ovulation period is the time during which an ova, an ovum or an egg is released from the ovary and it is called as the most fertile period which varies from woman to woman according to their length of menstrual cycle. During ovulation period some hormonal and physical changes takes place in the body. A woman is called most fertile, five days before she ovulates between 12 and 14 days after last period means best time to conceive. Ovulation period can occur a week before or later in a woman having irregular menstrual cycle.

Sign and Symptoms of Ovulation

Some of the signs and symptoms of the ovulation which generally woman notice are mentioned below:

  • A woman feels increase in her sexual desire.
  • White cervical mucus starts secreting during toilet.
  • A little cramp and pain occurs in the abdomen.
  • Rise in body basal temperature occurs.
  • Softening and opening of the cervix occurs.
  • Breasts get tenderness.
  • A woman gets feeling of sexy, great, physically attractive and more sociable.
  • During ovulation a woman smells good due to the more pleasant body odour.

When Does Ovulation Take Place during a Cycle?

Ovulation generally occurs after menstruation between 10th and 19th day (count from first day of last period) of menstrual cycle in a woman having menstruation regularly of 28 days cycle. A woman can notice her ovulation period by taking care of all the signs and symptoms given above. During this period thick and white cervical mucus secretion occurs due to the increased estrogen hormone level in the body. Some woman can notice little rise in their body temperature due to the progesterone hormone (sign of an egg release). A woman is most fertile during this period and she feels high desire for sexual intercourse thus has better chance of pregnancy.

Some Facts about Ovulation

  • A released egg from the ovary can live only for 12-24 hours.
  • Generally a fertile woman releases only one egg during her ovulation period.
  • Daily routine, stress level, illness or other type of anxiety affect ovulation.
  • There may be light blood spotting and rise in body temperature in some woman during ovulation.
  • A fertilized egg gets implanted in the uterus 6 to 12 days after ovulation.
  • A woman carry millions of immature eggs from birth however large number of eggs gets destroyed till she gets mature and starts ovulation.
  • An unfertilized egg disintegrates and gets absorbed into the uterus lining.
  • It is not necessary that a woman must ovulate during her menstrual period means menstruation may occur without ovulation.
  • A woman can ovulate in the absence of menstrual period.

Does Ovulation Take Place Every Menstrual Cycle

No, it is not necessary that a fertile woman must ovulate during each cycle however a woman ovulate only once and release one egg during her cycle. Some woman ovulate more than one egg which results in the formation of non-identical twins (when two eggs are released and gets fertilized in one cycle). During each cycle around 16 to 20 eggs starts getting matured in both ovaries. Each egg is enclosed in the follicle which produces oestrogen hormone and stimulates secretion of luteinising hormone (LH) which lead to the egg release from an ovary.