Human Reproduction Problem Set

Problem 9: Ovaries

Tutorial to help answer the question

Which of the following could be found in the ovary?

A. oviduct
B. corpus luteum
C. endometrium
D. cervix
E. sperm


Ovarian follicles up to ovulation

The ovaries contain eggs stored in small pockets called follicles. A follicle is an egg cell surrounded by a layer of cells involved in egg maturation. These ovarian follicles are formed in the woman's body before birth.

Following puberty, every month, approximately 12 to 14 days after the first day of menstruation in a "typical" monthly cycle, one of these follicles reaches maturity and is released into the uterine tube in a process called ovulation.

Ovarian follicles following ovulation

After ovulation, changes continue to take place in the ovaries. The remaining follicular cells undergo structural and biochemical changes. They develop into the corpus luteum.

While the ovarian follicles produced estrogen, the corpus luteum produce both estrogen and progesterone.

Effect of progesterone

Progesterone is required for maintenance of the endometrial lining of the uterus where the blastocyst is implanted. If the released egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining is sloughed off, completing the monthly uterine cycle. Following the menstrual period, the ovarian and uterine cycles begin anew, with the development of an ovarian follicle, and the preparation of the uterus for blastocyst implantation.

The Biology Project
University of Arizona
Updated: July 15, 1999
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