Anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system

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Anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system


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USMLE® Step 1 questions

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High Yield Notes

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Anatomy and physiology of the female reproductive system

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USMLE® Step 1 style questions USMLE

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Primordial germ cells are an essential part of ovarian development. After the primordial cells reach the gonad, they continue to multiply through successive mitotic divisions. Which of the following statements is most appropriate regarding oogenesis?  

External References

First Aid








Female genital embryology p. 645

Female reproductive anatomy p. 649

Male/female genital homologs p. 647

Normal flora

female genital tract p. 134

External Links


The female reproductive system includes all of the internal and external organs that help with reproduction. The internal sex organs are the ovaries, which are the female gonads, the fallopian tubes, two muscular tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus, and the uterus, which is the strong muscular sack that a fetus can develop in. The neck of the uterus is called the cervix, and it protrudes into the vagina. At the opening of the vagina are the external sex organs, and these are usually just called the genitals and they’re in the vulva region. They include the labia, the clitoris, and the mons pubis.

The ovaries are a pair of white-ish organs about the size of walnuts. They’re held in place, slightly above and on either side of the uterus and fallopian tubes by ligaments. Specifically, there’s the broad ligament, the ovarian ligament, and the suspensory ligament. And the suspensory ligament is particularly important because the ovarian artery, ovarian vein, and ovarian nerve plexus pass through it to reach the ovary. If you slice the ovary open and look at it (don’t try this at home) there’s an outer layer called the cortex, which has ovarian follicles scattered throughout it, and an inner layer called the medulla, which contains most of the blood vessels and nerves.


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  3. "Human Anatomy & Physiology" Pearson (2018)
  4. "Principles of Anatomy and Physiology" Wiley (2014)
  5. "Anatomy of female puberty: The clinical relevance of developmental changes in the reproductive system" Clinical Anatomy (2012)
  6. "Blood and lymphatic vasculature in the ovary: development, function and disease" Human Reproduction Update (2013)
  7. "The ovary: basic biology and clinical implications" Journal of Clinical Investigation (2010)
  8. "Waves of follicle development during the estrous cycle in sheep" Theriogenology (2000)

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