Saturday, October 25, 2008
Egg Trivia - Things I just learned today
After casually researching the art of conception for a few years now, I was surprised to learn some new and interesting facts about the female egg! This knowledge came courtesy of www.in-gender.com - one of my favorite TTC websites. For those of you who have read Toni Wexler's book from cover to cover, you may already know this stuff. But I didn't till today!
I'd heard the ovaries are about the size of a walnut. But did you know that, just before your egg is released from the ovary, your follicle continues to grow until it's nearly the size of a GOLF BALL? It's so big, it can actually be felt during a pelvic exam and seen in in a vaginal ultrasound. Which seems pretty funny considering that the actual egg itself is smaller than a grain of sand when it's released. I knew the follicle got bigger, but had no idea it got THAT big. Before, I would have guessed it became maybe the size of a pea.
Another trivia fact: contrary to popular belief, your ovaries don't necessarily release eggs in alternate cycles (left, right, left). Now they believe that it's actually pretty random. I did not know that!
I also learned that the egg is the ONLY human cell in your whole body that only contains half of your entire chromosomal makeup. Every other cell in your body has all 46 chromosomes, but an oocyte (the unfertilized egg) only contains half that number, because it's waiting for that that one Super Sperm to come along, bond (literally) and make up the difference.
For anyone who hasn't seen the Miracle of Life Video (which I still remember having to watch in the 6th grade), it's a pretty crazy looking process, how the sperm combines with the egg. The photos make it look like there's a literal explosion, where the sperm's head suddenly pops off and all the genetic material spills out and combines with that of the egg. It makes you feel almost sorry for the sperm, as it's just worked soooo hard and traveled aaaaall that way to finally get to the golden egg... and how is it rewarded? It's head blows up!!!
If you'd like to read more about eggs and ovaries (and a basic explanation of sex chromosomes) click on this link for the page I read at in-gender.com.
To see this full picture (below - not cut off by the margins in this blog) go to: http://media-2.web.britannica.com/eb-media/98/26998-004-554F159B.jpg