Human Reproductive System: Female

The ovaries in the Human Female Reproductive System produce eggs which meet with sperms in oviducts. It is here that the egg gets fertilised. After fertilisation this egg goes into the uterus and further grows and develops into a baby.
Created On: Jun 6, 2016 11:52 IST
Modified On: Jun 6, 2016 13:17 IST

Ovaries, Oviducts or fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina are the organs of Human Female Reproductive System.


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Ovaries: There are two ovaries in human female reproductive system. They are oval in shape and are located inside the abdominal cavity near the kidneys. Ovaries are an important reproductive organ as they make mature female sex cells called ova or egg which are required for fertilisation. They also make female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. Each ovary is made of several thousand follicles.  

Oviducts: Above the ovaries are tubes called oviducts or fallopian tubes. The oviducts have funnel-shaped opening which covers the ovaries. The egg cell released by the ovaries goes into the oviducts and it is here that the egg fertilises by a sperm.

Uterus: The two oviducts are connected to a bag like organ called uterus. It is in the uterus that the fertilised egg develops and grows into a baby.

Cervix: The uterus is connected to a narrow opening called cervix.

Vagina: The cervix is connected to another tube called vagina. The vagina is also called birth canal because it is from here that the baby is born after it is completely developed in the uterus.


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Internal fertilisation takes place in humans. During copulation millions of sperms are released into the vagina. These sperms are highly active and mobile. They move up to the cervix and into the uterus. From uterus, the sperms move into the oviducts.

One of the two oviducts contains egg and only one sperm fuses with the egg in the oviduct to form zygote. This process is called fertilisation.

Development of Embryo

When the egg is fertilised then a zygote is formed. This zygote divides by the process of mitosis as it moves down in the oviduct and a hollow ball of hundreds of cells is formed. This hollow ball of cells is now called an embryo and gets embedded into the uterus. The embedding of embryo into the uterus is called implantation.

After implantation, a disc-like special tissue called placenta is developed between the uterus wall and embryo. The foetus is connected to the mother’s body through umbilical cord. It is through placenta that the exchange of important requirements like nutrition, respiration and excretion, between foetus and mother takes place.

Gestation is the time period from the fertilisation of egg to birth of the baby. The gestation period in humans is nine months. Birth of the baby begins when the muscles in the walls of uterus start to contract rhythmically.

Sexual Cycle in Females: Menstruation

In girls, at the age of puberty one follicle develops at a time to form mature ovum. On maturing the follicle bursts and the ovum come out of the ovary. This release of an egg from an ovary is called ovulation. In a healthy girl ovulation takes place on the fourteenth day of the menstrual cycle of 28 days.

Before ovulation, the inner lining of uterus becomes soft and thick with a lot of blood capillaries in it. This is necessary because in case the egg gets fertilised the uterus has to keep the fertilised ovum and supply it with food and oxygen from further development. In case the egg is not fertilised due to unavailability of sperm then the unfertilised egg dies within a day. The uterus lining breaks producing blood and other tissues. This breakdown of inner thick and soft lining of uterus along with its blood vessels in the form of vaginal bleeding is called menstrual flow or menstruation.

Menstruation occurs every 28 days. Menstruation stops temporarily when egg gets fertilised and women gets pregnant. Menstrual cycle restarts after the birth of the baby.

Menarche and Menopause

The first menstruation starts when a girl reaches puberty at the age of 12 years. The first occurrence of menstruation at puberty is called menarche.

The menstruation stops permanently when a woman reaches the age of 45 to 50 years. With this a woman loses the ability to bear child. This process of permanent stoppage of menstruation cycle is called menopause.