Ovaries

The ovaries are two small glands, located on either side of a woman's uterus, that are part of the female reproductive system. The ovaries produce female sex hormones and store and release eggs (ova), which can develop into embryos if fertilized by a male's sperm.

The female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) help control the menstrual cycle, breast development, and other functions. Approximately once a month, about 2 weeks before a woman's next period is due, one of her ovaries releases an egg (ovulation).

Last Updated: March 27, 2009

Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN

Medical Review: Joy Melnikow, MD, MPH - Family Medicine & Deborah A. Penava, BA, MD, FRCSC, MPH - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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