The conception 

After ovulation and the interception of the egg cell by the fimbriae of the oviduct, the egg cell (or ovum or oocyte) with her surrounding nutritive cells is in the oviduct (or fallopian tube). The egg cell is transported to the uterus by the flow of liquid in the oviduct and by the movement of the cilia in it. Both the egg and the mucus membrane of the fallopian tube produce substances that attract sperm cells. The sperm cells swim against the stream from the vagina through the uterus and oviduct to the egg. Many sperm cells (> 90%) get stuck behind barriers such as cilia or are damaged by antibodies. Only some dozen to a few hundreds of sperm cells reach the egg and surround it with their heads in the direction of the oocyte (Fig. 7).

The pre-conception attraction complex

In in vitro (test tube) fertilization it is observed that for a few hours a so called pre-conception attraction complex exists: a state in which the egg is surrounded by several dozens of sperm cells, lying with their heads against the membrane of the egg cell and their tails away from her. It has been observed, too, that this complex starts to rotate. This is caused by the movement of the tails of the sperm cells. After a while they begin to move more or less rhythmically in the same way. Van der Wal calls this a "mating dance".


Figure 7. Pre-conception attraction complex

The oocyte with the surrounding zona pellucida and nutritive follicle cells (corona radiata) and around it sperm cells

The conception

During this pre-conception attraction complex the egg secretes substances that alter the sperm. Their cap (the acrosome) dissolves, which enables them to connect themselves to the egg and to fertilize the egg. The sperm cells in turn ensure that the zona pellucida changes, so that it will let one (and only one) sperm cell pass through. So, substances from both sides are required to prepare the fusion of the gametes. Both cells have to be prepared and to change to make them receptive for the other cell. The cells interact and they change each other. Whether the fusion succeeds is uncertain, that depends on the interaction of the two cells.

Then the cell membrane of the egg merges with that of the sperm cell and the contents of the sperm fuses with the contents of the egg. The large egg receives the small sperm. Both cell membranes open up and connect with each other. The cell membrane is continuous, there is not - at any time - an opening or hole in it where the sperm creeps through. The membranes of the egg cell and the sperm cell always form a continuous entity. The question remains, however, how it is determined which sperm will enter the egg.

After the fusion of the egg with a sperm cell has taken place, the zona pellucida changes again and no sperm cell can fuse with the egg anymore.

The pre-conception attraction complex is a process that takes time. We do not see a race in which one sperm cell arrives first and wins ("survival of the fittest") and it is not true that the sperm enters or penetrates the egg either, since the cell membranes fuse. So, there is no race and no aggression. Both cells are equal, need each other and prepare each other for the fusion and the conception. The conception is a gradual process.

Integration

On the page about the egg cell and the sperm cells it was shown that egg and sperm are polar to each other. Both cells are so far specialized that they are not able to develop further. Only if they meet, the joining of both extremely specialized cells can be the starting point for a new development.

That both cells attract each other is not surprising. What the egg is, the sperm is not and vice versa. When they meet, the one-sidedness of each can be solved by that of the other. What was separated, is being united.

Reversal

During the hours of the pre-conception attraction complex, we see an ovum with her mobile cytoplasm and around it tens or hundreds structured sperm nuclei. The usual picture of a cell in which the nucleus is at the centre and the mobile cytoplasm is around it, is reversed. The nuclei are now at the periphery. At the same time the cytoplasm of the ovum is at rest in the centre around which the movement of the sperm cells' tails induce the rotation. Which is another reversal, since normally the periphery is at rest and the cytoplasm is in motion. And thirdly, normally a cell is in interaction with the environment at the periphery. But now we see there the secluded, non-interactive quality of the sperm cells. The complex is directed inwards. The pre-conception attraction complex is the reversal of the normal conditions and relationships of a cell.

Incarnation

This dance of ovum and sperm-cells and the reversal of the normal relationships during the hours of pre-conception attraction complex, may be necessary to open up the physical for the spiritual. It is possible that an encounter with the soul and spirit of a human being is being prepared. The pre-conception attraction complex may be the moment where the spirit-germ of the new human being is linked with its physical germ. This may be the moment of the incarnation, which is experienced or perceived by some people. They notice not only that there is a pregnancy, but also who will arrive. Sometimes it is a feeling, sometimes this individual makes his being or name known.

Conception and incarnation do not have to become a success. A woman and a man do not make a child, but receive it.

No reproduction

It seems that the conception and embryonic development of humans are inefficient. The probability that a human sperm meets an ovum is small compared to mammals and then there is still the implantation that has to succeed and the embryo that has to develop healthily. There appear to be many more miscarriages in humans (mostly unnoticed) than in mammals. Man is therefore called an inefficient reproducer. When we take into account that an incarnation has to take place, this is not surprising. The conception of humans is then not only a matter of reproduction, but something of a different order, it is about the incarnation of an individual. Every man is a unique individuality. The parents do not repeat themselves in their offspring, but create the conditions for the incarnation of another human being.

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© Heirs Tom van Gelder - Stichting AntroVista