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Fertilization is the union of a sperm and a female egg. This process marks the initial phase of pregnancy. When a sperm joins an egg, it is said that the egg has been fertilized. This is a necessary process for pregnancy to occur.
Fertilization can occur naturally or can also be done artificially. Artificial fertilization means that fertilization takes place outside of the body. Typically, when fertilization occurs naturally the male's sperm fuses with the female ovum following vaginal intercourse in which the male ejaculated. Once the sperm has burrowed into the egg, the egg changes so that no other sperm can enter.