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The facts

Conception is when a woman's egg is fertilised by the man’s sperm which is then implanted into the woman's womb. 

Trying to conceive

If trying for a baby, it is really important to understand your monthly menstruation cycle to see when you are ovulating.  This is because you are most likely to get pregnant if you have sex within a day or two of ovulation.   Ovulation usually happens about 14 days after the first day of your last period Ovulation occurs every month when an egg is released from the ovaries and travels into the fallopian tubes, which connects the ovaries to the womb (uterus).

Click on our Ovulation Calculator to check out your ovulation cycle.


An egg can be fertilised by sperm during the 12 to 24 hours after it has been released from the ovaries. Sperm can remain viable in the fallopian tubes for up to seven days, so fertilisation can occur even if sperm entered the fallopian tubes before an egg was released.

During conception, a single sperm from a man penetrates the egg of a woman. The sperm carries the father’s genes, while the mother’s genes are contained in the egg. Once the egg has been fertilised by a single sperm, no more sperm can enter.

The fertilised egg, called a zygote, continues to move down the fallopian tubes reaching the womb.  It will implant itself into the lining of the womb (about 6-10 days after ovulation), where it begins to grow. 

Until eight weeks after conception, the implanted zygote is called an embryo. After this it is called a foetus.

For most women, the first sign that they are pregnant is a missed period. A few days after that missed period, a urine test can confirm the pregnancy.

How can I give myself and my partner the best chance to conceive?

While we are all probably tired of hearing how important lifestyle, eating well and general health is so important, it is doubly so when trying for a baby.

If you and your partner are in good health, you will improve your chances of getting pregnant and of having a healthy pregnancy.
Medical issues such as diabetes, asthma and being overweight can affect your pregnancy.

Diet and Exercise

Being overweight – For women if your body mass index (BMI) is between 20 and 25 you have a healthy weight.  Women whose BMI is more than 30 or under 19 may find their fertility levels suffer.  If a men’s BMI is more than 30, his fertility may be lower than normal.

It is important to be active for general feeling of wellness.  Being active and fitter helps with stamina and ability to cope with the ups and downs of everyday life.

Alcohol and smoking

Excessive alcohol drinking may affect the quality of a man’s sperm and smoking may reduce fertility in women.