Understanding the Basics of Female Reproduction

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Understanding the Basics of Female Reproduction

In order to have a successful viable pregnancy, both the male and the female reproductive system has to function properly. In the female the sequence is:

  • The uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries are anatomically normal
  • The egg quality is good, the follicle grows maturely, ovulation occurs and it leads to the release of the viable oocyte in each cycle
  • The fallopian tubes are open and functional
  • There is no hindrance in the path of sperm to locate and reach the egg
  • The endometrial lining is optimal for the embryo to grow

Female Reproductive System

Vagina

It is a fibromuscular tubular sex organ. The vagina extends from the vulva to the uterus. At the vulva, the vaginal orifice initially is partly covered by a membrane called the hymen, while, at the deep end, the cervix bulges through the anterior wall of the vagina. The vagina facilitates sexual intercourse and childbirth.

Uterus

It is a hollow pear-shaped organ with an endometrial lining which is home to the developing fetus. The uterus enlarges during pregnancy. The uterus has two parts corpus is the upper part and cervix is the lower part which opens in the vagina.

Fallopian tubes

They are two very fine tubes lined with ciliated epithelia, leading from the ovaries to the uterus.

Ovaries

They are a pair of the ovum-producing reproductive organ. They secrete estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Estrogen is responsible for the appearance of secondary sexual characteristic and for the maturation and maintenance of the reproductive organs in their mature functional state. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy and the mammary glands for lactation. Progesterone functions with estrogen by promoting the menstrual cycle. About 1 million oocytes are present at birth in the human ovary, only about 500 (about 0.05%) of these ovulate, and the rest is wasted. The decline in ovarian reserve appears to occur at a constantly increasing rate with age and leads to the nearly complete exhaustion of the reserve by about age 52. As ovarian reserve and fertility decline with age, there is also a parallel increase in pregnancy failure and meiotic errors resulting in chromosomally abnormal conceptions.