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Fertilization - Medical Animation
 
This animation may only be used in support of a single legal proceeding and for no other purpose. Read our License Agreement for details. To license this animation for other purposes, click here.

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Fertilization - Medical Animation
MEDICAL ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Fertilization is the epic story of a single sperm facing incredible odds to unite with an egg, and form a new human life. It is the story of all of us. During sexual intercourse, about 300 million sperm enter the vagina. Soon afterward, millions of them will either flow out of the vagina, or die in its acidic environment. However, many survive because of the protective elements provided in the fluid surrounding them. Next, the sperm must pass through the cervix, an opening into the uterus. Usually it remains tightly closed, but here the cervix is open for a few days while the woman ovulates. The sperm swim through the cervical mucus, which is thinned to a more watery consistency for easier passage. Once inside the cervix, the sperm continue swimming towards the uterus. Though millions will die trying to make it through the mucus, some sperm remain behind, caught in the folds of the cervix. But they may later continue the journey as a back-up after the first group. Inside the uterus, muscular uterine contractions assist the sperm on their journey. However, resident cells from the woman's immune system, mistaking this sperm for foreign invaders, destroy thousands more. Next, half the sperm head for the empty fallopian tube, while the other half swim toward the tube containing the unfertilized egg. Now, only a few thousand remain. Inside the fallopian tube, tiny cilia push the egg toward the uterus. To continue, the sperm must surge against this motion to reach the egg. Some sperm get trapped in the cilia and die. During this part of the journey, chemicals in the reproductive tract cause the membranes covering the heads of the sperm to change. As a result, the sperm become hyperactive, swimming harder and faster toward their destination. At long last, the sperm reach the egg. Only a few dozen of the original 300 million sperm remain. The egg is covered with a layer of cells called the corona radiata. The sperm must push through this layer to reach the outer layer of the egg, the zona pellucida. When sperm reach the zona pellucida, they attach to specialized sperm receptors on the surface, which triggers their acrosomes to release digestive enzymes, enabling the sperm to burrow into the layer. Inside the zona pellucida is a narrow, fluid-filled space just outside the egg cell membrane. The first sperm to make contact will fertilize the egg. After a perilous journey against incredible odds, a single sperm attaches to the egg cell membrane. Within a few minutes, the outer membranes fuse and the egg pulls the sperm inside. This event causes changes in the egg membrane that prevent other sperm from attaching to it. Next, the egg releases chemicals that push other sperm away from the egg, and create an impenetrable fertilization membrane. As is the reaction spreads outward, the zona pellucida hardens, trapping any sperm unlucky enough to be caught inside. Outside the egg, sperm are no longer able to attach to the zona pellucida. Meanwhile, inside the egg, the tightly packed male genetic material spreads out. A new membrane forms around the genetic material, creating the male pronucleus. Inside, the genetic material reforms into 23 chromosomes. The female genetic material, awakened by diffusion of the sperm with the egg, finishes dividing, resulting in the female pronucleus, which also contains 23 chromosomes. As the male and female pronuclei form, spider-like threads, called microtubules, pull them toward each other. The two sets of chromosomes join together, completing the process of fertilization. At this moment, a unique genetic code arises, instantly determining gender, hair color, eye color, and hundreds of other characteristics. This new single cell, the zygote, is the beginning of a new human being. And now the cilia in the fallopian tube gently sweep the zygote toward the uterus, where he or she will implant in the rich uterine lining, growing and maturing for the next nine months, until ready for birth.

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What attorneys say about MLA and The Doe Report:
"Thank you for the splendid medical-legal art work you did for us in the case of a young girl who was blinded by a bb pellet. As a result of your graphic illustrations of this tragic injury, we were able to persuade the insurance company to increase their initial offer of $75,000.00 to $475,000.00, just short of their policy limits.

We simply wanted you to know how pleased we were with your work which, to repeat, was of superlative character, and to let you know that we would be more than willing to serve as a reference in case you ever need one. Many thanks for an extraordinary and dramatic depiction of a very serious injury which clearly "catapulted" the insurance company's offer to a "full and fair" amount to settle this case."

Philip C. Coulter
Coulter &Coulter
Roanoke, VA

"Our firm was able to settle our case at an all day mediation yesterday and I am confident that the detail and overall appearance of the medical illustrations significantly contributed to the settlement. When we require medical illustrations in the future, I will be sure to contact [MLA]."

Noel Turner, III
Burts, Turner, Rhodes & Thompson
Spartanburg, SC

"The Doe Report is a visual feast of medical information for personal injury lawyers."

Aaron R. Larson, Esq.
President
ExpertLaw.com

"Medical illustrations are essential during trial for any medical malpractice case. The people at MLA have the uncanny ability of creating medical illustrations that simplify the most complex of medical concepts and human anatomy to a lay audience. The exhibits of MLA allow experts to easily describe complex concepts and human anatomy in a manner that could not be done otherwise.

In addition, their custom illustrations show in great detail the extent of injuries suffered and the devastating effects they have had on the client's anatomy. These custom illustration can show, side by side, the body before and after a catastrophic injury. The effect of this juxtaposition is unmatched by any testimony that can be adduced at the time of trial.

Even jurors after trial have commented on the ease with which they grasp medical concepts and anatomy once the MLA exhibits were introduced and used by my experts. Even judges who have "seen it all" are thoroughly impressed by the detail and sophistication of the illustrations.

I would not want to try a case without them."

Lambros Y. Lambrou
McHUGH & LAMBROU, LLP
New York, NY













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