What is Ovulation?

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What is Ovulation?

The subject of reproduction is both interesting and amazing. Plants and animals alike have two main forms of reproduction, which are asexual and sexual reproduction. Asexual reproduction means that the offspring is produced by a single parent and only has the genes that are in the parent. Asexual reproduction on the other hand involves the union of genetic material from two parents to produce offspring. There are several conditions that are required for either form of reproduction to take place. One of these conditions that is very important for sexual reproduction to occur in mammals is ovulation.

To understand ovulation we must first know the female reproductive system. In human beings, the female reproductive system comprises of the vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. At maturity, the ovaries of the female will begin to produce eggs which are passed through the fallopian tube and become available for fertilization in the uterus. Ovulation is therefore the fertile period during which conception is likely to take place. Unlike animals that ovulate as per the availability of suitable conditions, ovulation in human beings follows a specific cycle and is only interfered with by very extreme conditions such as illness or mental as well as physical stress. During ovulation, unprotected intercourse is very likely to lead to conception.
The average cycle in women is twenty eight days and this will normally be calculated as from the last day of menstruation. On average, most women will ovulate on the fourteenth day of their cycle. However it must be said that it is not an exact science and ovulation can take place anytime between the tenth and nineteenth day of the cycle. Ovulation itself is a process that will on average take thirty six hours. There are three stages in the processes which are preovulatory, ovulatory and postovulatory. These stages are what facilitate the availability of the egg within the uterus in a state where it is ready for fertilization. For those who are looking to conceive, it is advised that sexual intercourse takes place as from three days before the expected date of ovulation to twenty four hrs after ovulation. This is because sperms can survive for the three days while waiting for the egg and the egg is also able to survive twenty four hours after ovulation. Those on the other hand who practice natural contraception and are not looking to conceive should avoid sexual contact for this period.

With advances in science, it is now possible for women to induce or suppress ovulation by use of various hormonal treatments. There are also many tools available today that can assist in determining the time of ovulation for those looking to get pregnant. You could also look out for signs that will normally indicate ovulation such as changes in cervical mucus, increased body temperature, lower abdominal discomfort and increased libido. One or two of these symptoms will not indicate ovulation but a combination of most should be a strong signal that a woman is in her fertile period and can conceive.

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