Wednesday, January 10, 2007

If I were God

Wouldn't a better plan for human fertilization be one in which the zygotes were reversed? Men would deposit a single "egg" (call it what you will) in the uterus and women would release the fertilizing agent.

Sperm are so small and mobile. Ejaculate is so runny. Doesn't it seem miraculous we ever get pregnant at all?

Far better to have a single, solid deposit into the uterus.

Oh, and women's "fertilizing agent" wouldn't be released -- as with men presently -- without orgasm.

I shared this little plan with my spouse. He gave me a horrified look. He was picturing the "egg" like a chicken egg. In his estimation, depositing it would require a burp gun, not a penis.

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Anonymous americanmum said...

How would the egg get to the uterus? Thinking in a darwinian way, I'm assuming that over time the egg would have to develop a tail to swim up there, and maybe it would have to get smaller so it would be more transportable, and maybe eventually it would be better if nature chose that several would be released at once just to make sure one got there, and that there would have to be some lubrication agent to help the egg along. Then wouldn't it just be sperm? I wonder if that is just what happened, evolutionarily speaking?

LOVE the orgasm idea.

7:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It has been shown that women sometimes do ovulate with orgasm. Also, women tend to ovulate with sex if they have been separated from their man for a long time (like deployed soldiers) and that often they will release more than one egg, resulting in twins.

And if it was that the male was always fertile AND the female released the fertilizing agent with every orgasm, well, that would increase the pregnancy rate a whole lot wouldn't it? So much for NFP! LOL

7:43 PM  
Anonymous d. feldman said...

There is some evidence that ovulation and conception works along very different lines than the traditional "sperm race to patient egg and one lucky swimmer dives in":

"In a total of 625 menstrual cycles for which the dates of ovulation could be estimated, 192 pregnancies were initiated, as indicated by increases in the urinary concentration of human chorionic gonadotropin around the expected time of implantation. Two thirds (n = 129) ended in live births. Conception occurred only when intercourse took place during a six-day period that ended on the estimated day of ovulation."

The egg doesn't wait for the sperm; on the contrary, the sperm need to already be present when the egg pops free.

The journey itself seems to be important:

"In order to become fully competent at fertilizing the oocyte, spermatozoa must undergo the maturational process of capacitation during their journey in the female reproductive tract. Endometrial cells secrete an array of growth factors that can affect spermatozoa. Among these factors, it has been previously demonstrated that interleukin-6 (IL-6) affects the fertilizing capacity of human spermatozoa. As the expression of this cytokine varies throughout the menstrual cycle and increases during the periovulatory period, the involvement of IL-6 in human sperm capacitation was investigated, with emphasis on the signal transduction cascade triggered by this agent in sperm cells."

It seems that the zona pellucida around the egg also has vital interactions with the spermatozoa before the two gametes fuse. Not only that, but there is evidence that the egg can actively gobble up a particularly attractive spermatozoa.

And a twinning bonus:

"In a minority of cases, frequent coitus may give rise to DZ twins via superfecundation, but it seems that, in human beings, the corpus luteum of one ovum will usually inhibit fertilization of any further ova after a short interval. The evidence presented here, though indirect, seems to suggest that, under particularly erotic conditions, double ovulation is sometimes induced. It seems reasonable to infer that coitus also occasionally provokes or accelerates single ovulations, thus impugning some rhythm methods of contraception. But there seems no very good evidence that rape induces ovulation."

I love PubMed : )

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems reasonable to infer that coitus also occasionally provokes or accelerates single ovulations, thus impugning some rhythm methods of contraception. But there seems no very good evidence that rape induces ovulation."

Right! like what happened with me this time! Heh. "Yeah, sweetie, it's too early in my cycle to get pregnant, and you're going to be out of the country when I do ovulate......" Had fertile mucus the next day.

10:29 PM  
Blogger doulicia said...

Wow! I was just musing and here are these great questions and thoughts.

Americanmum: the egg could either be shot with force (maybe the burp gun model isn't that far off afterall). Alternatively, the penis could be more like the special "arm" squid have that they use to deposit a sperm "packet" in the female's recepticle area (I'm sure there's a technical term).

One Hot Mama, I didn't know about the ovulation after long separations, nor, D. Feldman, the additional requirements for successful fertilization.

10:41 AM  

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