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Science

Reproduction

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The female reproductive system

The female reproductive system contains these parts:

  • ovaries

  • egg tubes

  • uterus (pronounced "yoo-ter-russ")

  • cervix

  • vagina.

Shows the oviduct, ovary, uterus, bladder, cervix, vagina and urethra

Ovaries

The two ovaries contain hundreds of undeveloped female sex cells called egg cells or ova. Women have these cells in their bodies from birth - whereas men produce new sperm continually.

Egg tubes

Each ovary is connected to the uterus by an egg tube. This is sometimes called an oviduct or Fallopian tube. The egg tube is lined with cilia, which are tiny hairs on cells. Every month, an egg develops and becomes mature, and is released from an ovary. The cilia waft the egg along inside the egg tube and into the uterus.

Uterus and cervix

The uterus is also called the womb. It is a muscular bag with a soft lining. The uterus is where a baby develops until its birth.

The cervix is a ring of muscle at the lower end of the uterus. It keeps the baby in place while the woman is pregnant.

Vagina

The vagina is a muscular tube that leads from the cervix to the outside of the woman's body. A man's penis goes into the woman's vagina during sexual intercourse. The opening to the vagina has folds of skin called labia that meet to form a vulva. The urethra also opens into the vulva, but it is separate from the vagina, and is used for passing urine from the body.

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