Ovarian cycle, illustration

Ovarian cycle, illustration

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Credit: KATERYNA KON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Ovarian cycle, computer illustration. Once sexual maturity is reached up to 20 oocytes start developing into eggs (ovums) every menstrual cycle. Only one will reach full maturity as a Graafian follicle (lower left) and release its egg at ovulation ( far left). The follicle then develops into a corpus luteum (yellow, top left), which secretes progesterone to build up the lining of the uterus, ready for a fertilised egg. If there is no fertilised egg after 12 days it stops secreting and degenerates into a corpus albicans (top right).

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