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Copulation means sexual intercourse

Sexual arousal

  • In males the penis becomes erect 
  • In females the vagina enlarges and becomes lubricated


  • During copulation the penis moves inside the vagina


  • Copulation results in a pleasurable feeling called orgasm
  • In males this results in semen being expelled from the penis (ejaculation)


  • Sperm are released into the female system in a process called insemination. This takes place in the vagina, close to the cervix

  • The sperm swim towards a chemical released from the egg (chemotaxis)

  • Sperm swim through the cervix, along the endometrium and into the Fallopian tube

  • Enzymes from the head (acrosome) of the sperm break down the membrane of the egg

  • The head of the sperm enters the egg

  • A new membrane forms around the egg preventing and more sperm from entering the egg


Fertile time

  • Sperm and eggs can survive for 2 days

  • The fertile time is between days 12 and 16 of the menstrual cycle when a sperm can fertilize an egg released around day 14


  • Fertilization is the union of the nuclei of the sperm and egg to form a diploid zygote

  • Fertilization occurs in the Fallopian tube 

  • It normally takes place on days 14 or 15 of the menstrual cycle