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Ovulation - All You Need To Know

ovulation: what is it and how does it work?

Ovulation is one of the most important things a woman should know about her body; it is the determining factor in getting pregnant. Understanding how it works allows you to gain more control upon your health and fertility. Read along for an easy explanation on the subject.

What is ovulation?

Women are born with millions of follicles or immature eggs. Each month, one of these develops into an ovule or mature egg. The egg then breaks through the ovary wall and travels down the fallopian tubes in hopes of being fertilized. The release of a mature egg from the ovaries is what we call ovulation.

When does ovulation occur?

Ovulation typically happens around the 14th day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. You are most likely to become pregnant the days leading up to and the actual day of ovulation. That is why this period is often referred to as “fertile window.”

If you are trying to conceive, tracking your menstrual cycle can help you learn when your ovulation tends to occur and therefore, when you are the most fertile. If you want to learn more about ovulation tracking, then follow the link.

ovulation and menstruation cycle graph

Illustration of the menstrual cycle

How does the ovulation process work?

Ovulation is part of the menstrual cycle, and it entails different interactions taking place in the female reproductive system with the common goal to make conception possible. The entire process consists of four stages.

Stage 1 - Menstrual phase: This phase starts with the first day of your period and typically lasts between 4 to 7 days. During this time, and if no egg was fertilized, the thickened uterine wall sheds and becomes the monthly bleeding you might experience.

Stage 2 - Follicular phase: This phase starts the same day as your menstrual phase but lasts between 10 to 17 days. During this time the pituitary glands send out various signals to adjust your hormone levels. This includes a rise in the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). The FSH triggers one dominant follicle to develop into a mature egg, while the others disintegrate. Before the recently matured egg is released from the ovary, the lining of your uterus will thicken in case fertilization occurs and there is need for implantation.

Stage 3 - Ovulatory phase: This phase, also called ovulation, happens mid-cycle and lasts approximately 24 to 36 hours. An estrogen peak triggers the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) to be released. This LH surge causes the egg to push through the ovarian wall and make its way to the fallopian tubes where it can be fertilized. If you are trying to conceive, this is the optimal time for insemination.

Stage 4 - Luteal phase: This phase starts right after ovulation and lasts approximately 14 days. During this time, the FSH and LH hormones begin to decrease while the unfertilized egg gets reabsorbed into your uterine lining. That is if no implantation has occurred.

Additional facts

  • Implantation of a fertilized egg normally takes place 6-12 days after ovulation, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
  • Ovulation can occur even if your period has not happened.
  • The mature egg lives 12-24 hours after leaving the ovary.
  • Normally only one egg is released from one ovary during ovulation.
  • An average cycle lasts 28-32 days, but some women may have longer or shorter ones.

Contact Cryos

If you want to learn more about women’s fertility and eggs, following this link to our blog post on the subject.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact us. Our Customer Care Team is ready to help you via phone at +1 (407) 203 1175, via e-mail at [email protected], or via live chat on our website.

Cryos is here to help you make your family dreams become a reality!