Female Reproductive System

Definition - What does Female Reproductive System mean?

The female reproductive system is the set of organs and the hormonal signals they send and receive, which are responsible for ovulation, implantation, pregnancy, and delivery. This includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the uterus, cervix, vagina and external female genitalia, and the hypothalamus and pituitary in the brain. Abnormalities of any part of the system may contribute to decreased fertility.

FertilitySmarts explains Female Reproductive System

The ovaries produce the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone along with egg cells. Generally, one egg is released from the ovaries during the process of ovulation and travels to the fallopian tubes where fimbriae sweep up the released egg and transport it to the uterus. Fertilization by sperm generally occurs in the fallopian tubes. The egg continues towards the uterus where the uterine lining has developed to support a fertilized egg. If the egg is fertilized, it implants within the uterine lining. If the egg has not been fertilized or it fails to properly implant, the uterine lining is shed through menstruation.

Many structural, endocrine, infectious, metabolic, and cardiovascular conditions can lead to problems with fertility, and an understanding of the female reproductive system is important for understanding them. For example, Chlamydia, a very common sexually transmitted infection can lead to scarring of a Fallopian tube which prevents the egg from passing from the ovary to the Fallopian tube where it can be fertilized. Turner's syndrome, a chromosomal disorder leads to ovaries being underdeveloped which leads to infertility.

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