The female reproductive system is designed to produce the ova, or oocytes (female egg cells), and transport them to the site of fertilisation, for conception to occur.
The fertilisation of an egg by a sperm normally occurs in the fallopian tube and is then referred to as an embryo. The fertilised egg then moves to the uterus, where it implants into the lining of the uterine wall. This journey takes about five days.
If fertilisation and/or implantation does not take place, the female reproductive system is designed to menstruate. The lining of the uterus is shed, along with the unfertilised egg, and the menstrual cycle starts again.
The ovaries are two small, oval-shaped organs that are located on either side of the uterus and contain the eggs.
At birth the ovaries contain anywhere from several hundred thousand to several million circular bundles of cells known as follicles. Each follicle surrounds and supports a single immature egg that has the ability to develop into a mature egg. Despite this large number of potential eggs, only 400 mature in a woman’s lifetime.
During each menstrual cycle, about 10-20 follicles and their eggs begin to develop under the influence of the pituitary hormone follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Of these follicles, only one cell completes its development and becomes a mature egg.
These narrow tubes extend from the womb, one on each side. They both open near an ovary. They serve as tunnels for the fertilised eggs to travel from the ovaries to the uterus after ovulation.
The uterus is a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is home to a developing fetus. Its lining is called the endometrium. The neck, or entrance to the womb, is the cervix, which has a small hole in its centre called the os. A channel through the cervix allows sperm to enter and menstrual blood to exit.
The vagina is a canal that joins the cervix (the lower part of uterus) to the outside of the body. It also is known as the birth canal.
At Rainbow Fertility, our specialists have extensive experience in helping create LGBTI families. Feel free to contact our friendly team to learn more about our donor program and the fertility treatment options available to you.
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