Chapter 18 - Female Reproductive System
The organs of the female reproductive system are the ovaries, oviducts, uterus, vagina, placenta, and mammary glands. Their functions include the production of ova, fertilization, development of the fetus, birth, and nutrition of the newborn.
The ovaries are responsible for the production of female gametes (ova) and secretion of female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone).
At birth there is several hundred thousand primary oocytes which are arrested in prophase of the first meiotic division, where they will remain until entry into the ovarian cycle. Unlike male gametes, no more female gametes are produced during the life span of a woman.
During each ovarian cycle, several oocytes will undergo a process that leads to the formation of secondary (antral) follicles and the ovulation of a single oocyte.
Fertilization usually takes place in the oviduct.
The oviducts (also known as fallopian tubes or uterine tubes) are fibromuscular tubes that transport an ovulated ovum from the ovary to the uterus.
The endometrium of the uterus is divided into a basal layer and a functional layer. The functional layer thickens and is then shed during menstruation.