Close

We use cookies to give you the best possible online experience. If you continue, we'll assume you are happy for your web browser to receive all cookies from our website. See our cookie policy for more information on cookies and how to manage them.

Process: From Egg to Embryo

Pregnancy begins when an egg is fertilized by a sperm. This event takes place in the outer third of one of the fallopian tubes, when a single sperm meets and fuses with an egg following sexual intercourse. Within 2 days of fertilization, the egg starts its journey towards the uterus, propelled by the muscular action of the fallopian tube. As the egg travels, its cells gradually divide to form a cluster of cells called a morula. After 5–7 days, the morula arrives in the uterus and then embeds securely in the uterine lining. From this moment onwards, the pregnancy is properly established, and the morula is known as an embryo.

The beginning of life

After fertilization, the egg begins to move along the fallopian tube, its cells doubling in number every 12 hours. By the time the egg arrives in the uterus, it consists of hundreds of cells.

From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.

Back to top

Search the
Medical Encyclopedia

Related Topics

The subjects, conditions and treatments covered in this encyclopaedia are for information only and may not be covered by your insurance product should you make a claim.