primary function of the female reproductive system is reproduction, which includes
|Included in the reproductive function of this system is the production of the female hormones which are responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of the female animal as well as the development of follicles in the ovary, ovulation, preparation of the uterus for implantation of an embryo, maintenance of pregnancy, parturition and preparation of the mammary glands for milk production.|
The female reproductive system is composed of several distinct organs. These include the paired ovaries, paired uterine tubes, uterus (uterine horns), cervix, vagina, and the mammary glands. [Click here to view the gross anatomy of an ovary.] The ovaries are both an exocrine organ producing cells, i.e., ova, and an endocrine organ, secreting hormones, i.e., estrogen and progesterone. Note: in domestic animals the oviducts are usually called uterine tubes and the uterus is called uterine horns due to the structure of these organs. In this lesson, we will use the terms uterine tubes, uterine horns and body of the uterus.
Ova are produced in the ovaries then transported from the ovaries to the site of fertilization in the upper part of the uterine tube. Sperm are transported from the site of deposition near the vagina and uterus to the site of fertilization. If fertilization occurs, the uterus serves to nourish the developing embryo and fetus until the time of parturition. The vagina receives the male copulatory organ, the penis, during copulation and is the birth canal for the infant during parturition. Mammary glands serve to nourish the infant.
Although all mammals have the same basic organs, their individual structure and association with each other varies according to species. The structure of the uterine tubes and uterus are especially variable. [Click here to see a diagram comparing the structure of the female reproductive tract of the human and some domestic species.]
|Production of Ova|
|Transportation of Ova and Spermatozoa to Site of Fertilization|
|Parturition - not covered in this lesson|
|Review (All material is for the student's information – no results are collected.)|
Histology home Female Reproduction index
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