What is Conception? - Definition, Ovulation & Symptoms

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: What Is the Epididymis? - Definition & Function

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:25 Understanding Conception
  • 1:30 Ovulation
  • 2:42 Symptoms of Conception
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: John Williams
Reproduction is necessary for the perpetuation of a species, including humans. This video lesson explains conception and ovulation as well as their roles in reproduction. Symptoms of conception will also be briefly discussed.

Understanding Conception

We have all experienced it, even though we have no recollection of it ever happening. We can all credit it with our existence, but we cannot truly remember what happened during the process of it. That 'it' is conception. Let's discuss the process of conception and why it is so important for human existence.

Biologically, conception is the moment when a sperm cell from a male breaches the ovum, or egg, from a female. The process is also known as fertilization and is the initial stage of development for human growth. This is a key stage of sexual reproduction, which is a form of reproduction that is necessary for genetic diversity. This is the reproduction method employed by humans.

In order for sexual reproduction to be successful, something called meiosis must take place. The process of meiosis, or sex cell division, is necessary for the production of gametes, or sex cells.

Most cells in the body have 46 chromosomes, which is a full complement of DNA. However, the goal of meiosis is to reduce this number of gametes by half, down to 23 chromosomes. During fertilization, the sperm cell and the ovum, which are the gametes, will have 23 chromosomes apiece. When they combine, the total chromosomal number of the new structure is 46; this is now called a zygote, or a fertilized egg cell.


The process of conception is one that requires a fair amount of probability and luck. Several factors must be in place in order for fertilization to occur. For one, the sperm cells have to survive the release from the male system. This process alone contributes heavily to the likelihood of conception.

Secondly, the female body has to be hospitable to the sperm cells in order for them to survive. This hospitable nature of the female reproductive system changes throughout the 28-day menstrual cycle. But perhaps the most important factor for conception is the process of ovulation.

Ovulation takes place in the ovaries, or female gonads, and is the process by which the ovaries release ova for fertilization. This usually takes place around day 14 of the menstrual cycle and is controlled by luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone.

An ovulated egg is viable within the system for roughly 2-3 days before it disintegrates. Therefore, conception is most likely to happen if sex is performed prior to ovulation, and timing plays a large role in successful conception.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Study.com Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.com

Become a Study.com member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about Study.com
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Study.com has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account