The role of the females in the reproduction of human beings is much more complicated than the males. Their part will not only involve producing egg cells but also will include the care and protection of a growing fetus inside the womb for nine long months. In the female body, the ovaries are considered to be the major reproductive organs. Similar to the testes of the male reproductive system, the ovaries can act as both an exocrine (egg cells) and endocrine gland (estrogen and progesterone hormones). The other structures of the system play as the accessory parts needed for transport, care, or otherwise provide the needs of the cells of reproduction and/or the growing fetus.
There are a number of functions that the female reproductive system does:
- It is responsible for the production of oocytes or ova, the female egg cells, which are necessary for sexual reproduction.
- It is also serves as the site where the transportation of ova passes through going to the place of fertilization.
- Fertilization or conception usually happens in the fallopian tubes.
- Implantation follows when the fertilized egg implants into the uterus’ walls. This marks as the first stage of pregnancy.
- In case fertilization or implantation does not occur, the reproductive system is responsible for menstruation.
- The system is also responsible for producing female sex hormones needed to maintain the cycle of reproduction.
The external female reproductive parts, or genitals, have two basic functions:
- To facilitate the entry of the sperm into the body
- To serve as a barrier for the internal structures against infections
The Main External Parts of the Female Reproductive System
Labia majora means “large lips”. They are responsible for protecting other external reproductive structures. They are fairly large and fleshy and are similar in function to the male’s scrotum. They also have glands for oil and sweat production. When a female reaches puberty, hair starts to cover the labia majora.
Labia minora means “small lips”. They are much smaller in structure than the labia majora. They span up to 2 inches wide. They are located within the labia majora and border the vaginal opening (the canal that bridges the lower portion of the uterus to the outside of the body) and urethra (the tube that transports urine outside the body from the bladder).
These glands are situated at the sides of the opening of the vagina. They also secrete mucus for lubrication during sexual intercourse.
They are also known as lesser vestibular glands. These glands are located near the opening of the urethra. Tissues surround the Skene’s glands, including the portion of the clitoris that swells with blood during stimulation. They are comparable to the prostate glands of the males.
It is a tiny yet sensitive protrusion, similar to the male penis. This is where the two labia minora meet. A fold of skin, termed as prepuce, covers the clitoris and is comparable to the foreskin of the male penis. The clitoris can become erect and very sensitive to stimulation just like the male penis.
The Main Internal Parts of the Female Reproductive Organ
It is a canal that serves as a passageway between the lower portion of the uterus, called the cervix, and outside of the body. It is popularly called as the birth canal.
The uterus is known as the “womb”. It is pear-shaped and is a hollow structure that houses the fetus during the entire pregnancy. The uterus has two specific parts: the cervix, which is the lower portion and the link to the vagina, and the corpus, which is the main body of the uterus. The corpus is designed to be stretchable in order to hold a growing fetus. There is a passage through the cervix that permits the entry of the sperm and exit of menstrual blood.
These are tiny and oval-shaped structures that are adjacent to the uterus. They are responsible for the production of eggs and hormones.
These are thin tubes that are connected to the upper portion of the uterus. They serve as the channels for the transport of the egg cells or the ova from the ovaries to the uterus. The fallopian tubes are the usual location for fertilization or conception. From the tubes, the fertilized egg travels to the uterus, where it implants on walls of the uterine linings.
How long will an egg last?
A huge number of the eggs steadily die even if they are still within the ovaries and they gradually diminish until menopause. There are around 1 million eggs produced at birth and will reduce until puberty, when they are only 300,000. Only 300 to 400 eggs will be used for ovulation in the whole reproductive years of a woman. The egg cells will continue to lessen during pregnancy, use of contraceptives and regular and irregular menstruations.