A Biologist’s Pep Talk: The Story of Your Amazing Conception

When you learn about the tremendously small odds of your origins, you will be amazed! Your very first moments began with the joining of (1) one dominant, pampered egg and (2) one determined and perfectly formed sperm. Against all odds, these two special cells found each other, bringing together all that was needed to start “you.”

You are egg-ceptional!

When a female fetus is about 20 weeks old, she has between 6-7 million pre-eggs, or oocytes, in her little ovaries. Through natural processes, she will lose millions of these oocytes and be born with only 1-2 million. As she grows, she continues to lose thousands of eggs every month. At puberty, she will have winnowed that original 6-7 million oocytes to only about 300,000. Then after puberty, about 1000 oocytes begin to mature every month, with one of these becoming dominant. Only this one egg will be released from an ovary at ovulation. It will have about 48 hours to reach the uterus through a uterine tube (formally “Fallopian tube”). As it travels, it is surrounded with a mantle of cells that protect and pamper it, called the zona pellucida.

Ovulation

THAT WAS YOU! That dominant egg! The ONLY one of a thousand that finished the maturation process! The egg that was supported, cared for, and protected by a zona pellucida. A woman releases only 300-500 mature oocytes in her lifetime. AND YOU WERE ONE OF THESE! And more, you were made from an egg that survived the winnowing processes: one of 6 million! You truly started from a good egg!

You are one in a billion!

Unlike a female, a male only begins to produce sperm at puberty, but he makes an amazing 1500 sperm per second once he gets started! That equals more than 500 billion sperm over a man’s lifetime! What a fantastic amount of energy he puts into making these sperm, especially when only two will actually fulfill the purpose of procreation (if on average 2 children/man)! And you began from ONE OF THESE BILLIONS OF SPERM!

It is not only that you are one in a billion, but you are also from one of the strongest and perfectly formed sperm in the ejaculate. About 250 million sperm are released in one ejaculation. Immediately, many of the sperm die in the acidic vagina. Then, more are blocked at the cervix, where a mucus-y filter blocks any mal-formed sperm from entering the uterus. The healthy sperm that enter the uterus are forcibly transported by muscular contractions towards either the left or right uterine tubes, so half the sperm that moved through the cervix are lost at this point. Again, the sperm hit a filter at the opening of the uterine tubes that allows only healthy, well-formed sperm though. By the time the sperm enters the uterine tubes, only 250 cells are left. Again, these sperm hit another obstacle here in the uterine tubes. As they swim towards the egg, they get stuck in tiny hairs called cilia that line the tubes. This slows the sperm down, but an important chemical reaction occurs within the cilia that activates the sperm. Once released from the cilia, the sperm swim faster and have increased ability to bore into the egg. Finally, the remaining sperm bind to the egg and begin pushing the membrane to enter that cell. Only one will penetrate the membrane, and as soon as it does, the membrane toughens blocking out the remaining sperm.

Sperm obstaclesSperm in cilia

You came from that determined sperm! That one in a billion that was healthy and formed wonderfully! That one sperm that swam purposefully towards his goal, passing hurdle after hurdle.

You’re unique and wonderful!

Your beginning was against the odds! Scientists have actually calculated that the likelihood of your original egg and sperm coming together was about 1 in 400 trillion! That’s like a miracle! Your base components were strong and beautifully formed! The egg and sperm fulfilled their purposes as they came together and began your potential story. And this is only the story of your conception! This story does not even include the 40 weeks of precise cell division and critical development you went through before your birth! Your origin story is complex and organized and beautiful! Know it and believe it!

One thought on “A Biologist’s Pep Talk: The Story of Your Amazing Conception

  1. What a great explanation of our creator’s amazing plans for each one of us! Praise God! We really are fearfully & wonderfully made! 🙂

    Like

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