Preparations for Fertilisation
The egg cell is 20-25 cm. from the place where the
sperm enters the female body. This distance is about
3000 times the size of the sperm. Considered in proportion
to its own size, this distance is quite large and to
traverse it the sperm needs strong support.
Before the egg can meet the sperm, some preparations
begin in both the male and the female body. The great
majority of these preparations are to protect the sperm
on its journey in the mother's body. For example, in
the uterus various contractions and undulations occur.
This uncommon activity in the uterus and fallopian tubes
facilitates the sperm's advance towards the egg. The
interesting thing about these contractions is the substance
that causes them. This substance is called prostaglandin
and is found in the seminal vesicle fluid that comes
with the sperm from the male body. Despite the fact
that it comes from a different body, this substance
knows the structure of the mother's uterus and affects
it in such a way as to make the way easier for the sperm.14
sperm moving in the mucous
In order for fertilisation to take place, the changes
that take place in the uterus are not limited to these.
During this period the tubes expand; under the influence
of the oestrogen hormones, the mucous membrane that
lines the uterus increases in size and weight. The epithelial
cells membranous tissues composed of one or more layers
of cells separated by very little intercellular substance
proliferate. This structure in the mucous assumes a
shape that will permit the sperm to pass through these
spaces with the movement of its tail. Besides allowing
the sperm to move easily, this transformation has another
very important function: the tissues serve as a storage
and filter area, allowing only normal sperm to pass.
Sometimes the sperm do not have a shape that can ensure
fertilisation. In this case, they are suspended in these
The sperm have a resilient
structure to enable them to endure the long
and arduous journey in the mother's body. But
as we can see in the picture above, some
sperm are impaired. By design, impaired sperm
are eliminated as they travel in the mother's
body, while healthy sperm are detected and guided
to the egg. Thus, the egg always unites with
a healthy sperm.
As can be seen from the foregoing, it is evident that
every movement in the uterus and ovaries is specially
designed for the sperm to reach the egg cell. For example,
after ovulation has occurred and the possibility for
an egg to meet a sperm has been ensured, the mucous
begins to perform a reverse operation: it becomes thick
and dense, preventing the sperm from entering.
The reason for the changes that happen in the female
reproductive system is to allow the sperm which enter
the body to reach the egg (ovum). But, as we saw above
and in the previous section, this is a matter of great
interest: the elements in the female reproductive system
assist cells coming from a totally different body.
How can it be that a cell has come to have so much
detailed information about other cells with which it
has never even shared the same environment? (even if
they had shared the same environment the result would
not be different.) How does it know, for example, that
the movement of these cells must be facilitated? Indeed,
it is not possible for the cells that produce the fluid
in the uterus to know the qualities possessed by sperm
or to prepare a suitable environment for them.
All the functions we have described up to this point
occur in all women in the same perfect sequence. When
we consider the operation of these harmonious and complementary
systems, we come face to face with an evident plan and
design: the sperm is designed for the mother's body;
the mother's reproductive organs are especially ordered
to accommodate. If there is the slightest
defect in this harmony, for example, if the sperm does
not have the tail that allows it to move, or if it lacked
the fluid to balance the acidic environment in the mother's
body, reproduction will not occur.
This clearly shows that the great harmony that exists
between the male and female reproductive cells is the
work of a deliberate and planned creation. It is Almighty
God, the Lord of the universe Who has created mankind
from a drop of fluid, male and female, in harmony with
each other. Human beings should consider the perfection
of God's creation and submit themselves unconditionally
to Him, bowing before the eternal power of the Lord.
And in your creation and all the creatures
He has spread about, there are Signs for true believers.
(Qur'an, 45: 4)
Movements of the Fallopian Tube
maturating and being released, as we explained
earlier, the egg is intercepted by the fallopian
tube. If the egg cell, when released by
the ovary, is not intercepted by the fallopian
tube, it passes into other parts of the
mother's body where it cannot meet a sperm.
tube is where the egg and the sperm meet.
In order to ensure the meeting, the fallopian
tube performs a two-fold activity; first,
it takes the maturated egg cell from the
ovary and guides it to the place in the
tube where it will meet the sperm. Secondly,
it takes the sperm from the cavity of
the uterus and brings it to the place
where it will meet the egg.
First of all, the fallopian
tubes, which are located beside each ovary,
collect all the eggs released from the
ovary. The ends of the fallopian tubes
are like arms which surround the ovary
and are designed to collect the maturated
eggs. When the eggs have come to maturity,
the arms of the fallopian tubes open and,
like the arms of an octopus, they grasp
the surface of the egg and begin to move
over it with a sweeping motion. Aided
by these activities, at the time of ovulation
the egg falls into the fallopian tube.
The egg, released into the pelvic cavity,
enters the fallopian tube which is 10-12
cm. in length. The inside of the fallopian
tube is covered with millions of tiny
hairs which move in one direction, drawing
the egg to where it will meet the sperm.1
By this time, the follicle
cells surrounding the ovum at the time
of ovulation still remain as an outer
envelope. The folded mucous membrane of
the egg secretes enzymes which gradually
cause this cellular envelope to loosen.
Thus, the follicle cells are "rinsed away",
so that the protective membrane of the
egg lies exposed to the sperm.
The timing of these operations
performed by the fallopian tube is very
important, because both the sperm and
the egg cell have a limited life-span.
It is necessary that the sperm cells reach
the egg cell before this life-span expires.
How does the fallopian tube make the adjustments
for this? How does it know how long the
alien cells can survive? Certainly a piece
of flesh, a few centimetres in size, could
not have the information or skill to perform
these operations. As is the case with
every cell and tissue, the fallopian tube
performs its activity only by the inspiration
of God, the Creator of all the worlds.
For this reason, it carries out this difficult
activity easily and without a hitch. So,
it becomes possible for the egg cell to
be fertilised before it dies, that is,
within 24 hours at the most.
1- Lennart Nilsson, A
Child is Born, Delacorte Press, NY, 1977,
Arthur C. Guyton, John E. Hall, Textbook of Medical
Physiology, 10th ed., Harcourt International Ed., PA,
2000, p. 918