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Female reproductive system (human)

A pictorial illustration oI the Iemale reproductive system.

Latin systema genitale femininum

The 102al0 r05roductiv0 syst02 (or 102al0 g0nital syst02) contains two main parts: the
uterus, which hosts the developing Ietus, produces vaginal and uterine secretions, and passes the
anatomically male person's sperm through to the Iallopian tubes; and the ovaries, which produce
the anatomically Iemale person's egg cells. These parts are internal; the vagina meets the external
organs at the vulva, which includes the labia, clitoris and urethra. The vagina is attached to the
uterus through the cervix, while the uterus is attached to the ovaries via the Fallopian tubes. At
certain intervals, the ovaries release an ovum, which passes through the Fallopian tube into the
II, in this transit, it meets with sperm, the sperm penetrate and merge with the egg, Iertilizing it.
The Iertilization usually occurs in the oviducts, but can happen in the uterus itselI. The zygote
then implants itselI in the wall oI the uterus, where it begins the processes oI embryogenesis and
morphogenesis. When developed enough to survive outside the womb, the cervix dilates and
contractions oI the uterus propel the Ietus through the birth canal, which is the vagina.
The ova are larger than sperm and have Iormed by the time an anatomically Iemale person is
born. Approximately every month, a process oI oogenesis matures one ovum to be sent down the
Fallopian tube attached to its ovary in anticipation oI Iertilization. II not Iertilized, this egg is
Ilushed out oI the system through menstruation.
O Embryonic development
O Internal
4 . Vagina
4 . Cervix
4 .3 Uterus
4 .4 Oviducts
4 .5 Ovaries
4 .6 Reproductive tract
O 3 External
O 4 Female genital modiIication
O 5 See also
O 6 ReIerences
O External links
0dit] E2-ryonic d0v0lo520nt
Chromosome characteristics determine the genetic sex oI a child at conception. This is
speciIically based on the 3rd pair oI chromosomes that is inherited. Since the mother's egg
contains an X chromosome and the Iather's sperm contains either an X or Y chromosome, it is
the male who determines the baby's sex. II the baby inherits the X chromosome Irom the Iather,
the baby will be an anatomically Iemale person. In such case, testosterone is not made, but the
WolIIian duct will degrade and the Mllerian duct will develop into Iemale sex organs. In this
case, the Iemale clitoris is the remnants oI the WolIIian duct. On the other hand, iI the baby
inherits the Y chromosome Irom the Iather, the baby will be an anatomically male person. In
such case, testosterone will be in charge oI stimulating the WolIIian duct in order to develop
male sex organs, and the Mllerian duct will degrade.

0dit] Int0rnal
An anatomically Iemale person's internal reproductive organs are the vagina, uterus, Iallopian
tubes, cervix and ovary.
0dit] Vagina
ain article. Jagina
The vagina is a Iibro muscular tubular tract leading Irom the uterus to the exterior oI the body in
Iemale mammals, or to the cloaca in Iemale birds and some reptiles. Female insects and other
invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part oI the oviduct.
The vagina is the place where semen Irom the anatomic male is deposited into the anatomically
Iemale person's body at the climax oI sexual intercourse, commonly known as ejaculation.
Around the vagina, pubic hair protects the vagina Irom inIection and is a sign oI puberty. The
vagina is mainly used Ior sexual intercourse.
0dit] 0rvix
ain article. Cervix
The cervix is the lower, narrow portion oI the uterus where it joins with the top end oI the
vagina. It is cylindrical or conical in shape and protrudes through the upper anterior vaginal wall.
Approximately halI its length is visible, the remainder lies above the vagina beyond view. The
vagina has a thick layer outside and it is the opening where baby comes out during delivery. The
cervix is also called the neck oI the uterus.
0dit] Ut0rus
ain article. Uterus
The ut0rus or wo2- is the major Iemale reproductive organ oI humans. The uterus provides
mechanical protection, nutritional support, and waste removal Ior the developing embryo (weeks
to 8) and Ietus (Irom week 9 until the delivery). In addition, contractions in the muscular wall
oI the uterus are important in pushing out the Ietus at the time oI birth.
The uterus contains three suspensory ligaments that help stabilize the position oI the uterus and
limits its range oI movement. The uterosacral ligaments, keep the body Irom moving inIeriorly
and anteriorly. The round ligaments, restrict posterior movement oI the uterus. The cardinal
ligaments, also prevent the inIerior movement oI the uterus.
The uterus is a pear-shaped muscular organ. Its major Iunction is to accept a Iertilized ovum
which becomes implanted into the endometrium, and derives nourishment Irom blood vessels
which develop exclusively Ior this purpose. The Iertilized ovum becomes an embryo, develops
into a Ietus and gestates until childbirth. II the egg does not embed in the wall oI the uterus, an
anatomically Iemale person begins menstruation and the egg is Ilushed away.
0dit] Oviducts
ain article. Fallopian tube
The allo5ian tu-0s or oviducts are two tubes leading Irom the ovaries oI Iemale mammals into
the uterus.
On maturity oI an ovum, the Iollicle and the ovary's wall rupture, allowing the ovum to escape
and enter the Fallopian tube. There it travels toward the uterus, pushed along by movements oI
cilia on the inner lining oI the tubes. This trip takes hours or days. II the ovum is Iertilized while
in the Fallopian tube, then it normally implants in the endometrium when it reaches the uterus,
which signals the beginning oI pregnancy.
0dit] Ovari0s
ain article. Ovary
The ovaries are small, paired organs that are located near the lateral walls oI the pelvic cavity.
These organs are responsible Ior the production oI the ova and the secretion oI hormones.
Ovari0s are the place inside the anatomically Iemale body where ova or eggs are produced. The
process by which the ovum is released is called ovulation. The speed oI ovulation is periodic and
impacts directly to the length oI a menstrual cycle.
AIter ovulation, the ovum is captured by the oviduct, aIter traveling down the oviduct to the
uterus, occasionally being Iertilized on its way by an incoming sperm, leading to pregnancy and
the eventual birth oI a new human being.
The Fallopian tubes are oIten called the oviducts and they have small hairs (cilia) to help the egg
cell travel.
0dit] R05roductiv0 tract
The reproductive tract (or genital tract) is the lumen that starts as a single pathway through the
vagina, splitting up into two lumens in the uterus, both oI which continue through the Fallopian
tubes, and ending at the distal ostia that open into the abdominal cavity.
In the absence oI Iertilization, the ovum will eventually traverse the entire reproductive tract
Irom the Iallopian tube until exiting the vagina through menstruation.
The reproductive tract can be used Ior various transluminal procedures such as Iertiloscopy,
intrauterine insemination and transluminal sterilization.
0dit] Ext0rnal
The external components include the mons pubis, pudendal cleIt, labia majora, labia minora,
Bartholin's glands, and clitoris.
0dit] 02al0 g0nital 2odi1ication
There are surgical procedures intended to change an anatomically Iemale person's sexual
appearance. The clitoral hood reduction, also known as clitoridotomy, is a procedure intended to
reposition the protruding clitoris and reduce the length and projection oI the clitoral hood. The
procedure is also indicated in those women with mild clitoral enlargement unwilling to undergo a
Iormal clitoris reduction.

The clitoral hood removal, also known as hoodectomy, is a cosmetic surgery intended to enhance
an anatomically Iemale person's sexual experience. This surgery involves the trimming back oI
the clitoral hood or a complete clitoris hood removal.
Removal oI the protective hood allows
Ior more clitoral exposure which increases sensitivity in the clitoris. This procedure, sometimes
called Iemale circumcision, is diIIerent Irom a clitoral excision and is not intended to prevent a
woman Irom experiencing sexual pleasure.

Another surgical procedure is the clitoral reduction. Clitoris may enlarge due to hormonal
abnormalities, ingestion oI steroids, or birth. Surgery can reduce the glans or shaIt oI the clitoris
through an outpatient procedure.

According to WHO, Iemale genital mutilation (FGM) comprises all those procedures that
involve partial or total removal oI the external Iemale genitalia as well as other injury to the
Iemale genital organs Ior non-medical reasons.
Contrary to surgical procedures intended to
enhance a woman's sexual experience or her physical appearance, Iemale genital mutilation does
not have health beneIits and it actually can be very harmIul. This kind oI procedure may have
several complications Irom severe bleeding, tetanus or sepsis, urine retention, open sores in the
genital area and damage to the tissue to potential childbirth complications, inIertility, and
newborn deaths. This practice is common in the western, eastern and north-eastern regions oI
AIrica. It also takes place in some countries in Asia and the Middle East. It is also known that the
procedure is practiced by some immigrant communities in North America and Europe.

The ut0rus (Irom Latin "uterus", plural uteri or "uteruses") or wo2- is a major Iemale hormone-
responsive reproductive sex organ oI most mammals including humans. One end, the cervix,
opens into the vagina, while the other is connected to one or both Iallopian tubes, depending on
the species. It is within the uterus that the Ietus develops during gestation, usually developing
completely in placental mammals such as humans and partially in marsupials such as kangaroos
and opossums. Two uteruses usually Iorm initially in a Iemale Ietus, and in placental mammals
they may partially or completely Iuse into a single uterus depending on the species. In many
species with two uteruses, only one is Iunctional. Humans and other higher primates such as
chimpanzees, along with horses, usually have a single completely Iused uterus, although in some
individuals the uteruses may not have completely Iused. The term uterus is used consistently
within the medical and related proIessions, while the Germanic derived term womb is also
common in everyday usage in the English language.
Most animals that lay eggs, such as birds and reptiles, including most ovoviviparous species,
have an oviduct instead oI a uterus. Note however, that recent research into the biology oI the
viviparous (not merely ovoviviparous) skink Trachylepis ivensi has revealed development oI a
very close analogue to eutherian mammalian placental development.

In monotremes, mammals which lay eggs, namely the platypus and the echidnas, either the term
uterus or oviduct is used to describe the same organ, but the egg does not develop a placenta
within the mother and thus does not receive Iurther nourishment aIter Iormation and Iertilization.
Marsupials have two uteruses, each oI which connect to a lateral vagina and which both use a
third, middle "vagina" which Iunctions as the birth canal. Marsupial embryos Iorm a
choriovitelline "placenta" (which can be thought oI as something between a monotreme egg and
a "true" placenta), in which the egg's yolk sac supplies a large part oI the embryo's nutrition but
also attaches to the uterine wall and takes nutrients Irom the mother's bloodstream.
The vagina (Irom Latin vgina, literally "sheath" or "scabbard") is a Iibromuscular tubular tract
leading Irom the uterus to the exterior oI the body in Iemale placental mammals and marsupials,
or to the cloaca in Iemale birds, monotremes, and some reptiles. Female insects and other
invertebrates also have a vagina, which is the terminal part oI the oviduct. The Latinate plural
"vaginae" is rarely used in English.
The word vagina is oIten used colloquially to reIer to the vulva or to the Iemale genitals in
general; technically, the vagina is the speciIic internal structure. In humans, this passage leads
Irom the opening oI the vulva to the uterus (womb). It lies midway between the anal tract and the

The allo5ian tu-0s, also known as oviducts, ut0rin0 tu-0s, and sal5ing0s (singular sal5inx)
are two very Iine tubes lined with ciliated epithelia, leading Irom the ovaries oI Iemale mammals
into the uterus, via the utero-tubal junction. In non-mammalian vertebrates, the equivalent
structures are the oviducts.