The female reproductive system plays an important rolethroughout in a woman’s life.The system includes fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, cervix, external genitalia and breasts. Each organ has a specific function and role. These organs are involved in producing hormones and female egg cells (ova) necessary for reproduction. They also facilitate fertilization of eggs by the sperm and support development of the embryo during pregnancy. Other structures such as breasts give the mother the ability to feed and nourish a baby after birth
The organs in the female reproductive system are found inside and outside the body.
The organs found inside the body include:
The ovaries are oval shaped and about the size of large grape. They are located close to the pelvic wall on each side of the uterus. It is a pair of ova-producing organs (they produce egg cells) and therefore, producing the important female hormones. Ovaries are the primary reproductive organs.
They produce and release two groups of sex hormones – estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are necessary to prepare the uterus for the implantation of the embryo. In case no pregnancy happens, the body will get rid of the prepared lining through the menstrual bleeding and the next cycle will start again.
The fallopian tubes are narrow tubes leading from the uterus to the ovaries. They transport the sperm close to the ovary to allow fertilization of a released egg. After fertilization the tubes allow passage of the fertilized egg back to the uterus for the implantation.
Each fallopian tube is about 10 cm in length and 1 cm in diameter. In the distal portion the fallopian tube gets wider, this part is called the fimbria. The task of the fimbria is to collect the egg which is released by the ovary during ovulation.
The uterus is a dynamic part of the female reproductive organ that is responsible for reproductive functions such as menses, implantation of the embryo, pregnancy and delivery. The uterus is a hollow, muscular pear-shaped organ placed in the female pelvis between the urinary bladder anteriorly and rectum posteriorly.
It is connected to the two fallopian tubes on its right and left side and to the vagina via the cervixon its inferor end. The average size isaround 8 cm long, 5 cm across and 4 cm thick with an average volume of between 80 until 120 ml. The uterus is also known as the womb, as it surrounds and supports the developing fetus in pregnancy.
The vagina is a canal that connects the uterus to the outside of the body. It is ananelastic, muscular passage with a soft, flexible lining that provides lubrication and sensation when receiving the penis during sexual intercourse. The vagina also serves as the passageway for menstrual flow from the uterus and for the baby during birth (birth canal).
The organs found outside the body includes:
The external structure of the female reproductive systems includes some part of the vagina and the breasts. The labia, the clitoris and a number of glands are found externally. Togetherthese organs are known as the vulva.
Menstrual flow may occur every 26-35 days. Thatâ€™s counting from the first day of theperiod to the day before the next. A menstrual cycle starts when red, normal flow menses is present (brown discharge does not count as menses). Although the average cycle is 28 days, it is also normal to have a cycle which is shorter or longer. As a woman gets older or reaching late 30â€™s to early 40â€™s, she may find that her cycle becomes shorter. Also the use of certain types of contraception such as birth control pills, hormone injections or intrauterine device can change the cycle.
The first day of the cycle is the first day of the period (Day 1). The period might be regular or irregular, maybe light or heavy, painful or pain-free, long or short and still be considered as normal.
How does do the hormones work?
The menstrual cycle is under the control of a variety of hormones produced in different parts of the body:
FSH is produced by the pituitary gland in the beginning of each cycle. This simulates the ovaries to produce eggs. The ovaries have small fluid-filled cysts called follicles. Each follicles has an immature egg. The FSH causes many such follicles in the ovary to grow and mature.
At the same time specialised cells in the follicles begin to grow and produce the hormone estrogen. Estrogen levels are highest near ovulation (when egg is released from ovary for fertilisation) and lowest on the first day of the period.
Now, as these follicles develop and mature, one of them becomes â€œdominantâ€, and the egg growing inside it becomes mature. At this time, the estrogen level in the blood stream peaks, resulting in the thickening of the lining of the womb, so that it is able to support a pregnancy, if fertilisation happens.
Understanding Ovulation As the estrogen level in the body rises, there is a sudden and rapid increase in level of luteinising hormone – this is called â€œLH surgeâ€. This causes the dominant follicle to rupture and release the mature egg. This mature egg then enters the fallopian tube and then travels towards the womb for fertilization. The egg can live upto 8 hours before being fertilised.
Meanwhile in the ovary, the empty follicle starts to collapse and forms the corpus luteum which produces progesterone. Progesterone acts on further thickening of the lining in the womb and increasing blood supply in preparation to receive the fertilized egg.
If fertilization or embryo implantation does not take place, the estrogen and progesterone level will decrease and will result in breaking the lining of the uterus and stimulating the uterus to contract. At this point, the lining of the uterus begins to shed causing menstrual bleeding. This event marks the start of the next period and menstrual cycle.
If the egg is fertilised in the fallopian tube, it will implant itself into the lining of the uterus. The journey from ovary to implanting into the uterus takes place about 5 days after the fertilisation.
Human chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG) is the pregnancy hormone which will be produced as soon as implantation occurs. Other hormones – progerterone and estrogen levels remain high to prevent the lining of the womb from shedding. Their levels remain high until the placenta (the organ that supplies and contains all nutrients needed for the embryo to grow) is mature enough to support and maintain the pregnancy.
Infertility means difficulty of conceiving (becoming pregnant) even with regular intercourse when not using contraception. If a woman keeps on having miscarriage, it is also called infertility.
Female infertility can be caused by:
Our experts may recommend infertility tests. This involves:
When it is possible to find the cause of infertility, treatments may include medicines, surgery, or assisted reproductive technologies.
Fertility is an ever increasing issue in the world today. It is a huge psychological stressor for a couple. For some, pregnancy is a miracle that just doesnâ€™t happen. In the Middle East region, a lot of the couples are struggling with fertility issues and there are many reason behind it. This can be hereditary factors, environmental factors, lifestyle factors and exposure to chemicals and pollution and Vit D deficeincy.
Infertility can occur because of health changes from either man or woman and sometimes it is a combination of issues involving both of them. However many couples have been succesful at overcoming infertility naturally by changing their lifestyle.
Otherwise, if pregnancy doesnâ€™t happen naturally, couples can overcome infertility with individual treatment like fertility-drugs, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Our consultants are expert in regards to fertility problems. By filling up the below form, we will contact you within 48 hours to initiate determining the treatment approach that is right for you.
It can be very hard to figure out what you want or whether your treatment plan is suitable for you, IVIGCC Fertility can help you at variousopinions in making your decision.
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