Female Reproductive System
Understanding the female reproductive system may help to prevent infertility. It will also help you understand what is happening as you are trying to conceive naturally.
The female reproductive system includes the following organs and glands:
- Produce female hormones: estrogen and progesterone
- Produce one ripened egg (called ovum) each menstrual cycle
- Each month one of the ovaries produces an egg, which develops in a small fluid-filled sac called the follicle. When the egg is mature it is released from the ovary and passes through one of the fallopian tubes.
- Two trumpet shaped, flexible tubes connected to the uterus, they are designed with flared projections (fimbriae) to catch the egg and move it into the tube.
- Egg and sperm meet in the fallopian tubes and it is here that the egg becomes fertilized and the resulting embryo is transferred to the uterus by cilia (small hairlike structures)
- Thick, muscular organ that is designed to support a growing fetus
- Mucous membrane that lines the uterus and plays a key role in implantation of the embryo.
- The endometrium responds to the hormone progesterone, produced by the body and must be thick and spongy to receive the embryo. If there is not implantation the lining is shed with a menstrual period.
- A ring of tissue at the top of the vagina designed to collect sperm (with a cervical mucus), which are later released into the uterus.
- Observing changes in your cervical mucus will help you determine signs of fertility
- Sperm enter the woman’s body through the vagina which then leads to the cervix.