Definition of Conception

The culmination of fertilization (union of a sperm and an ovum) and implantation of the resulting blastocyst into the endometrium (lining of the uterus). Conception marks the onset of pregnancy.

Numerous factors, internal and external, influence conception. Internal factors include a woman’s hormone levels and ovulation patterns, the viability of the man’s sperm, and circumstances that occlude the fallopian tubes to keep sperm and ovum from meeting, such as scarring from pelvic inflammatory disease (pid).

External factors that influence conception include cigarette smoking and birth control methods intended to block conception, such as condoms, the intrauterine device, and oral contraceptives (birth control pills).

Health conditions such as endometriosis and uterine fibroids may prevent the pregnancy from proceeding after implantation takes place, resulting in early spontaneous abortion (commonly called miscarriage) often before the woman realizes she has conceived.


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