The ovary is the primary sex organ (gonad) of the female.
Each female has a pair of ovaries, located in the pelvic cavity.
Each ovary is attached to the posterior aspect of the broad ligament on its respective side of the uterus.
Production of the Ovum.
One female gamete (ovum) is released per menstrual cycle (about 28 days).
Within an ovary, one of the germinal cells begins to develop and grows larger as it stores food material. This development takes place within a follicle, a fluid-filled cavity within the ovary.
At midperiod, the mature ovum is expelled from the follicle onto the surface of the ovary. The free ovum is picked up by the uterine tube.
Production of Female Sex Hormones.
Initially, the cells of the ovary that form the follicle secretes the hormones called estrogens.
After the ovum has been expelled from the follicle, the resulting cavity is filled with a yellowish material known as the corpus luteum.
The corpus luteum secretes primarily progesterone, a hormone that helps prepare the uterus for pregnancy. Thus, estrogens are secreted during the first half of the menstrual cycle, and progesterone is added during the second half of the period.
This pattern of hormone secretion is a major factor in the menstrual cycle.