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Surrogacy Guide

Female Reproductive System

Guide for IVF

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Within the male and female framework, numerous bodily functions are alike. The leading variance between the male and female structure is in the reproductive system.

Reproductive system includes external sex organs, such as testes or vagina, internal sex organs, such as ovaries and uterus, and parts of the brain that control hormones secretion, like testosterone and/or estradiol.

At birth, the number of follicles are fixed and this number decreased with age because ovulation and follicular atresia (natural death). A woman has approximately 1 million eggs at birth but only 300-400 eggs will reach ovulation during a woman's reproductive lifetime.

Commonly, a woman in her 40s-50s enters the stage of menopause. Is natural process that involved decrease of hormone secretion and mark the end of the reproductive cycle (menstrual cycle).

During ovulation, the egg travels along the Fallopian tube. If meets a sperm, fertilization happens. The zygote (fertilized egg), settles into the walls of the uterus or implantation. This is the first stage of pregnancy, a very precise mechanism. If fertilization does not occur, hormone levels start to decline and after 14 days (approximately), the uterus collapse and produce menstruation.

The Female Anatomy — External vs. Internal

The function of the external female reproductive framework enables sperm to enter the body and further safeguard the genital organs from infectious organisms.

The main external structures of the female reproductive system:

Labia majora

The labia majora (large lips) shields the external female reproductive organs. The labia majora are comparable to male scrotum. The labia majora contains sweat and oil-secreting glands.

Labia minora

The labia minora (small lips) are located just inside the labia majora and surround the opening to the vagina (the canal that joins the lower part of the uterus to the outside of the body) and urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body.

Bartholin's Glands

Bartholin's glands are located at both sides of the vaginal opening and produce a fluid (mucus) secretion to lubricate the vagina.

Clitoris

The clitoris is beneath the prepuce. The clitoris is an approximately ¾-inch structure of highly sensitive tissue that becomes swollen with blood during sexual stimulation.

The main internal structures of the female reproductive system:

Vagina

The vagina is an elastic, muscular tube that acts as the receptacle for the penis during sexual intercourse.  During sexual intercourse, sperm will be ejaculated into the vagina and subsequently travel through the opening in the cervix, into the uterus, and potentially into the fallopian tube, which is the most common site of fertilization.

Uterus

The uterus, also known as the “womb,” is a hollow, muscular organ that is connected to the fallopian tubes at one end and the vagina (via the cervix) on its inferior end.  During early embryo development and pregnancy, the uterus surrounds and supports the developing fetus.  The endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, provides the necessary support for embryo attachment and early-stage development.

Ovaries

The ovaries are a pair of small, almond-sized glands located in the right and left sides of the abdominopelvic cavity along the lines of the upper portion of the uterus. The ovaries produce important female sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone and are also the site of female gamete/ova (egg) production. Each month (after puberty and before menopause), a mature egg cell is released form the ovaries and taken up by the fimbria of the fallopian tube where it may be fertilized by a male sperm cell.

Fallopian tubes: The Fallopian Tubes are a pair of highly muscular tubes that extend from the uterus and end in fingerlike projections, the fimbriae, near the ovaries that gently comb the ovaries and help funnel an ovulated egg into the fallopian tubes. The inside of the fallopian tubes are covered in small hairlike projections called cilia, that work in concert with the smooth muscles of the tube to carry an egg or embryo into the uterus.  


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