From Ejaculation to Fertilization – How Long?

23 May

I watched this awesome documentary from discovery channel – The Great Sperm Race (eighteenyears, thank you for the reco!)

It’s not your typical youtube video – it’s much longer, with commercial breaks – but so worth watching!

But – I have a question now. In this video, the fertilization happened 36 hours after the ejaculation. THIRTY SIX HOURS!

So now I am absolutely confused: how long does it actually take for the sperm to reach the egg?

I’ll explain my concern.

In the last cycle, I was given an ovulation trigger and got the ovulation confirmed 48 hours later. So it’s safe to assume it happened withing those 48 hours (they say it usually happens within 24-40 hours from the trigger).

Last cycle, I was told to have sex the same day as the trigger – and the following day. Hmmm, if it takes 36 hours for the sperm to reach the egg – then they all missed the ovulation?

Now, even more mysterious. This cycle, the doc said to have sex on the day FOLLOWING the trigger day and the one after that. In plain English – he suggested we have sex 48 hours after the injection. Which, as we know from the previous cycle, is waaay past the ovulation time. WTF? Especially if it takes that long for the sperm to reach the fertilization zone?

I am glad we had sex the night before the trigger. I am banking on those swimmers.

But seriously – how long from ejaculation to fertilization?


13 Responses to “From Ejaculation to Fertilization – How Long?”

  1. Kathy May 23, 2011 at 3:40 PM #

    I am here for the first time via ICLW! Thank you for your comment on my blog.

    This post is very interesting! I will have to check out that You Tube video at some point. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on it. My understanding is the sperm can live up to 5 days in your uterus prior to fertilizing an egg. However, in most cases they don’t actually survive that long. As to exactly how long post intercourse the actual fertilization takes place, I would imagine that it varies. But what do I know?! 😉

    I also enjoyed reading your About Me and ICLW intro tabs! The picture you designed your header with was both creative and clever. Great work! Thanks for sharing.

    ICLW #132

    • zygotta May 23, 2011 at 5:36 PM #

      Hi – thank you!
      I really wish there were more information. You know, clear and reliable. This black magic woo-doo that clinics get away with is driving me insane!

  2. jennawoestman May 23, 2011 at 5:16 PM #

    In our pre-IVF days, we were advised to go every 36 hours for that reason, starting about a week prior to my expected “ovulation”. Obviously it never worked for us, but I think that’s more due to my extremely faulty plumbing than our timing. Why is getting prego so freakin complicated??

    • zygotta May 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM #

      tell me about it… it’s nothing like we were told in high school sex ed classes!!!!

  3. BleedingTulip May 23, 2011 at 10:08 PM #

    I can’t get online for a few days and I miss so much!
    First off: SOOOOO sorry about all your drama with the progesterone. (Is it weird that the more graphic the details, the more interested/sympathetic I get? Bring on the TMI anytime!) Hopefully baby gets formed, placenta grows and takes over the production of progesterone ASAP. I’m a big fan of implantation bleeding (the only time I was pregnant, I got some… so I’m sending LOTS of positive thoughts your way)

    Onto this post, I have seen this documentary, and really loved it. You do raise an interesting question. I know that I get frustrated when we give owners information or medical advice and then they call because they read some malarkey on Dr.GoogleVet and I’m trying to explain why it’s wrong and I’m right, and will you please trust the person that went to school for this crap?! However, I do think it’s valid to ask this question. It just makes me laugh to see both sides of view on this…

    • zygotta May 23, 2011 at 10:23 PM #

      yeah, I think if they were at least consistent with their recos… it’s since they aren’t that I start to wonder

      anyway, I am seeing them tomorrow am (they are measuring my progesterone… can’t even imaging why – since I am shoving 600 mg daily of the stuff up my @ss.

      thanks for the positive thoughts!

  4. OliveLeah May 23, 2011 at 11:21 PM #

    Whoa! Just wandered over from ICLW week and love ur blog… Can already tell that I’m gonna like following this! Keep up the good work!

  5. eighteenyears May 24, 2011 at 9:04 AM #

    I wondered the same thing, but I’m just going with the idea that the doc must know something about this stuff, no matter how much I think I know. I think the docs count on the sperm living long enough to be hanging around when the egg is released and them being fast enough to get up there as/after it’s released. It’s still a mystery to me though, really.

    • zygotta May 24, 2011 at 9:14 AM #

      well, i also tend to think bright and believe that doc knows the best

      but then i want to know what he does, too 🙂

  6. lindsay j May 24, 2011 at 11:38 PM #

    Watching that “movie” was one of the first things I did when we first started TTC and I am so glad I did. It helped me understanding things so much more and was a bit entertaining.

    • zygotta May 25, 2011 at 9:05 AM #

      I only found it
      I read lots of other stuff, so already knew a lot – but still, it was quite entertaining and, well, I never knew that only a handful of swimmers reach the tube…
      so sad


  1. My Blog is One Year Old « zygotta - March 8, 2012

    […] in preggo progression (Preggo 6-10-14-18), about me page, and – surprisingly – “From Ejaculation to Fertilization – How Long?” – I guess lots of people google the same thing. Unfortunately, I am not the one giving […]

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