Ovaries and more
The ovaries are on either side of the womb. They produce egg cells and hormones – oestrogen and progesterone. Oestrogen is the hormone that tells your body to change during puberty, so you develop breasts and become sexually mature. Along with oestrogen, progesterone makes the lining of the womb get thicker during menstruation and pregnancy.
The fallopian tubes, one on each side of the womb, join the ovaries to the womb. They carry unfertilised eggs from the ovaries to the womb (uterus).
All women are born with around 250,000 unfertilised eggs in their ovaries. That means the egg that might one day grow to become your son or daughter is already somewhere inside your ovaries when you are born! The eggs are the size of a very small pinhead.
When you reach puberty, hormones start signalling to the ovaries to release one unfertilised egg cell every month – roughly 28 days. This is called ovulation. The egg then travels down the fallopian tube.
If a sperm cell gets to the egg to fertilise it, it will fasten itself to the lining of the womb and start growing into a baby. If it isn’t fertilised, it will just come out of your vagina with the blood when you have your period.
Around the time of ovulation, you are at your most ‘fertile’ – able to get pregnant. This means five days before or one day after your ovulation.