The Ovulation Cycle

During the time of puberty in females, out of 60,000 to 80,000 available primary oocytes, only 400 of them gets a chance to form a mature oocyte. Only one of the mature oocyte out of the 400 will be released every month which can get fertilized when it comes in contact with the sperm. [2]

How does all this happen?

The hypothalamus produces a hormone called the gonadotropin-releasing hormone or GnRH. GnRH stimulates the anterior lobe of the pituitary to secrete follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).FSH travels to the ovaries and stimulates a group of follicles to grow, were one of them will  survive and become a mature follicle, the rest die.

FSH triggers the stimulation of the follicles

FSH stimulates estrogen production. The increasing level of estrogen acts on the hypothalamus and the anterior pituitary to increase the level of GnRH and induce the production of another hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH). [3]

FSH triggers the production of estrogen

A surge in LH secretion triggers ovulation – the release of the egg from the follicle and the ovary.

Release of mature oocyte

Fertilization by a spermatozoon, when it occurs, usually takes place in the ampulla, the widest section of the Fallopian tube. The fertilized egg immediately begins the process of development while travelling toward the uterus.





  1. Textbook of medical physiology, 11th edition , Arthur C. Guyton and John E. Hall.

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