What is Ovulation?
The Female Ovulation Cycle

What is ovulation? Ovulation is a key factor in fertility and pregnancy. You can't get pregnant unless you ovulate. And you are infertile if you do not ovulate.


The moment of ovulation is when an egg is released from the dominant ovarian follicle from the wall of the ovary to be scooped up by the fimbria and swept into the fallopian tube to await fertilization from sperm.

What is ovulation? Ovulation is actually an ongoing cyclic process referred to as the female ovulation cycle or menstrual cycle.

Before ovulation, in the follicular phase, there are several things happening. Your egg cells are maturing from within follicles. By the end of this phase there is usually only one follicle that releases one egg. This follicle is called the dominant follicle.

Several hormones dominate this phase of the female ovulation cycle. Hormones are signals that tell your body what to do.

FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone, tells your follicles in the ovaries to recruit many eggs for the process of selection. Usually only one egg by the time you ovulate, will remain, eliminating all others because of one problem or another. Making sure that only the best, most viable egg is selected to be released for fertilization.

Estrogen levels, mostly estradial, increase as the maturing follicles with eggs develop. Once estrogen levels start to rise, FSH level will start to fall. Estradial readies the uterus and the endometrial lining for implantation of a fertilized egg. Plus other things necessary for conception. Such as changes in cervical mucus which is vital for the survival and nourishment of sperm, along with other changes of the cervix.

LH, or luteinizing hormone, will surge once estrogen has peaked. LH tell the dominant follicle to release the egg from the ovarian wall. What is ovulation? This is the moment of ovulation.

After Ovulation, in the luteal phase, many more things are happening. Your released egg then gets scooped up be the fimbria. The fimbria sweep the egg into the fallopian tube. This is where the egg waits to be fertilized by sperm.

Other hormones will dominate this phase of the female ovulation cycle. Signaling different parts of your female reproductive system to do certain things.

Progesterone levels rise produced from the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is what was the dominant follicle, now empty of the egg, and continuing to produce hormones necessary for conception. Progesterone further readies the uterus and its endometrial lining for implantation of the fertilized egg. Making it able to supply nourishment once implanted.

Estrogen level will remain high, though not at high as pre-ovulation. To continue preparing your body for conception and pregnancy.

HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, the pregnancy hormone, levels will rise if fertilization has taken place. This tell the corpus luteum to continue to produce hormones. Without this hormone the corpus luteum will disintegrate and die. The hormones is produces will drop in level and then trigger other things such as your period to start. And the female ovulation cycle starts all over again.

Once the egg is fertilized, it will continue to travel down the fallopian tube and implant or burrow itself into the nourishing lining of the uterus where it will continue to grow throughout the stages of pregnancy from oocyte to embryo to fetus and ultimately your 'baby' will be born.

If the egg is not fertilized it will start to break down, deteriorate, and die to be absorbed by the body. There will be no rise in HCG levels and progesterone and estrogen levels drop and this signals your uterus to empty its contents and you get your period.

I hope I've answered your question; "what is ovulation?".

Related pages

When Does Ovulation Occur? | What Happens at Conception? | When Does Conception Occur? | Cervical Mucus Changes at Conception and Ovulation | When Does Implantation Occur? | Preconception | How Long to Get Pregnant? |

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