(2) Functions. The uterine tubes are ducts for the ovaries although the
tubes are not attached to the ovaries. Additionally, the tubes are the site of fertilization.
Fertilization normally takes place in the outer one-third of the tube.
(1) Description/information. The ovaries are two almond-shaped glands.
They are located on either side of the uterus, below and behind the uterine tubes. The
ovaries are detached from the uterine tubes and held in position by a series of
ligaments. During the second phase (preovulatory phase) of the menstrual cycle, one
of the 20 to 25 primary follicles developed during the menstrual phase matures into a
Graafian follicle, a follicle ready for ovulation. During the maturation process, this follicle
increases its estrogen production. The rupture of the Graafian follicle with the release
of the ovum is the beginning of ovulation.
(2) Functions. One function of the ovaries is to produce ova (female
reproductive cells capable of developing, after fertilization, into new individuals). Also,
the ovaries discharge ova (ovulation) and secrete the female sex hormones
progesterone, estrogen, and relaxin. The ovaries in the female correspond to the testes
in the male reproductive system.
(1) Description/information. The vagina is a muscular, tubular organ lined
with mucous membrane. This organ is about 10 centimeters (4 inches) long and
extends from the hymen to the cervix. The vagina extends upward and backward
between the rectum and the bladder and is attached to the uterus.
(2) Structure. The lining of the vagina is made up of smooth muscle which
is longitudinally and circularly arranged in many folds called rugae. The folds of the
lining permit the organ to expand when necessary. The hymen is the fold of mucous
membrane at the orifice (opening) of the vagina.
(3) Functions. The vagina serves as a passageway for menstrual flow,
receives seminal fluid from the male, and serves as the lower part of the birth canal.
a. Description/Information. The mammary glands (breasts) are modified
sweat glands which are located over the pectoralis major muscle between the second
and the sixth ribs. The interior of each mammary gland contains 15 to 20 compartments
called lobes. These lobes are connected by fatty tissue called adipose tissue. The size
of a female's breasts is determined by the amount of adipose tissue in the breasts. The
amount of milk a female produces after childbirth has nothing to do with the size of her
breasts. Each lobe contains several smaller compartments called lobules. Lobules are
made up of connective tissue containing milk-secreting cells named alveoli.