For a someone to get pregnant, pre-ejaculate or ejaculate (also called pre-cum, semen or cum) must find its way into or onto the vagina. Ejaculate (semen) is made up of seminal fluid and hundreds of millions of sperm. We've broken down what happens next in the following basic steps.
- The sperm swim through the cervix and uterus into the fallopian tubes.
- If the person has recently ovulated and an egg is present, the sperm can join with the egg causing fertilization. Sperm can live in the body up to seven days, which means that if the person ovulates within a week of having sex - there's still a chance for pregnancy.
- A fertilized egg forms a zygote. The zygote is a cluster of cells that continues to divide and multiply as it travels along the fallopian tube into the uterus.
- When it reaches the uterus (at this point it's called a blastocyst) it attaches to the nutrient rich lining of the uterus that has been developing. This process is called implantation.
- Once implantation happens, the person is medically pregnant and the mass of cells is called an embryo and then later, it is referred to as a fetus.
- If the egg is not fertilized, or the fertilized egg doesn't implant, the egg dies and the person sheds the lining of their uterus, which is what is happening each month during a period.
Not having sex (abstinence
) is the only sure way to prevent pregnancy. Otherwise, wearing a condom can reduce the risk of pregnancy and also protect one from getting a sexually transmitted disease.
Pregnancy is not a one sided thing. It takes two people for pregnancy to occur. In other words, both partners are equally responsible for the child, even though only one partner carries that child through pregnancy.
Being a loving, caring, and supporting father is important part of fatherhood. When fathers are involved with their children's lives, children are more succesful in school, have better self esteem, and grow up in healthy settings. To learn more about fatherhood, check out the Milwaukee Fatherhood Initiative
for information on events and resources for fathers.