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What are Ovaries?

Last updated date: 18th Mar 2023
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The ovaries can be defined as oval-shaped, small glands, the location of which are on the different sides of the female uterus. The ovary function is important for the female reproductive system to work properly since these are the organs that tend to produce eggs as well as other hormones in the female body. 

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These organs are located in the pelvic region. The ovary is responsible for housing the ova or the egg. In this article, students are going to learn about the ovary function and structure of this important reproductive organ in females. 

Anatomy of Ovary 

Human females from the moment they are born have two different ovaries that tend to stem from the female uterus. Before reaching puberty, ovaries have the structure of several tissue bundles that are long. However, with the maturation in females, the ovaries tend to mature as well. 

The anatomy of ovary states that these are bilateral in nature and have a flattened shape. The shape of the ovary mostly resembles that of an egg and it is also intraperitoneal. The ovaries tend to have a long shape and they are wide as well. However, the size of the ovaries is pretty small when compared to the male organs of reproduction. There are some superior as well as inferior poles present in the ovaries along with an anterior, medial, lateral, and posterior surface as well. 

Surrounding the female gonads is a specific kind of connective tissue which is called tunica albuginea. The location of the tissue is deeper into the superficial sheath that is present in the cuboidal epithelium. There is also a particular cortical layer that is present in the capsule of the ovary that houses the ovarian follicles. The vascular medulla is the third layer that lies exactly beneath the ovary’s cortex. The details about the anatomy of the ovary also help in learning more about the ovary function and structure. 

Ovary Function in Humans 

The ovaries in the female reproductive system have a variety of functions but three amongst them are the most prominent. First of all, the ovaries tend to protect the eggs and provide shelter to these eggs that females are born with. The eggs stay in the ovaries until they are matured and ready to use. Women are not born with an unlimited supply of eggs, like the men who never run out of sperm cells. Hence, it is important to store these eggs so that nothing goes to waste.


Another main objective of the regulation of ovarian function is that these create the female reproductive hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. These organs also tend to produce some other hormones which are not that well-known to people such as inhibin and relaxin. Estrogen is divided into three different types that include estriol, estradiol, and estrone. These hormones are essential for the female body to develop different female characteristics when the body reaches adulthood such as larger hips and breasts. Not to mention that these hormones also have a very important role to play in the facilitation of the reproductive cycle. Apart from estrogen, progesterone is also essential for the female reproductive cycle. Relaxin is the hormone that helps in loosening the ligaments of the pelvic region which tend to stretch during the period of labour in childbirth. Inhibin is a hormone that assists the female body by obstructing the pituitary gland to produce hormones. 

The facts of ovaries state that the third function of the ovaries is to release just one egg (sometimes more) with every single menstrual cycle. This is a process that is called ovulation. Inside the ovaries, there are certain follicles that tend to have an egg that is dormant. Each follicle has one egg. With the birth of a female, there are about 150000 to 500000 eggs that are stored in every single one of the follicles. Until the time a female reaches maturity, these eggs tend to be stored in the ovaries. When the particular get stimulation due to the maturity of the hormones, it is released from the ovary and reaches the fallopian tubes. Thus, until then, the ovaries serve as the house for the eggs. The number of eggs that are released by the ovary actually decides the number of embryos that are formed. 


The ovaries tend to form one of the essential organs of the female reproductive system. The ovary function can be justified with the fact that these help in the storing and sheltering of the eggs as well as the production of the female hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, inhibin, and relaxin. With the help of this article, students can learn more about the function of ovaries and their structure. 

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FAQs on Ovaries

1. What are ovaries?

According to the scientific definition of ovaries, these are oval-shaped, small glands that tend to be located on both sides of the uterus. These organs are the storehouses of eggs or ovum in the female body. Along with other parts of the reproductive system in females such as the uterus, fallopian tube, labia majora, and minora, this organ also helps in the process of reproduction. There are about 150000 to 500000 eggs stored in the ovaries of a female body from the time of her birth. 

2. What are the main functions of ovaries?

There are mainly three functions that the ovaries tend to perform. The first one is the storage and the sheltering of the eggs that are produced by the female reproductive system. The eggs are stored in the ovary for a particular time period until they are matured and completely ready to use in order to create embryos. Another main function of the ovaries is to produce the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. The ovaries also produce other hormones such as inhibin and relaxin. Apart from that, it is the job of the ovaries to release eggs into the urethra during the time period of ovulation in females.