Female Reproductive System

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The organs of the female reproductive system are found both inside and outside of the female body. The organs inside the body are in the pelvis, which is the lowest part of the body cavity above the legs.


  • Vagina - the area between the lower part of the womb (the cervix) and the outside of the body. The vagina receives the penis during sexual intercourse and is a passageway for childbirth.
  • Womb (Uterus) - a hollow, pear-shaped organ that is the home to a developing fetus. The uterus is divided into two parts: the cervix, which is the lower part that opens into the vagina, and the main body of the uterus, called the corpus. The corpus can easily expand to hold a developing baby. A channel through the cervix allows sperm to enter and menstrual blood to exit.
  • Ovaries - small, oval-shaped glands that are located on either side of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs (ova - an ovum is one egg, ova means multiple eggs.) The ovaries also produce the main female sex hormones which are released into the bloodstream.
  • Uterine (Fallopian) Tubes - narrow tubes that are attached to the upper part of the uterus. They serve as tunnels for the ova to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. The fertilisation of an egg by a sperm (conception) normally occurs in the uterine tubes. The fertilised egg then moves to the uterus, where it implants into the lining of the uterine wall.

The function of the external female reproductive structures (the genital) is twofold: To enable sperm to enter the body and to protect the internal genital organs from infectious organisms. The main external structures of the female reproductive system include:


  • Labia Majora - The labia majora enclose and protect the other external reproductive organs. Literally translated as "large lips," the labia majora are relatively large and fleshy, and are comparable to the scrotum in males. The labia majora contain sweat and oil-secreting glands. After puberty, the labia majora are covered with hair.
  • Labia Minora - Literally translated as "small lips," the labia minora can be very small or up to 2 inches wide. They lie just inside the labia majora, and surround the openings to the vagina (the canal that joins the lower part of the uterus to the outside of the body) and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body).
  • Bartholin’s Glands - These glands are located next to the vaginal opening and produce a fluid (mucus) secretion.
  • Clitoris - The two labia minora meet at the clitoris, a small, sensitive protrusion that is comparable to the penis in males. The clitoris is covered by a fold of skin, called the prepuce, which is similar to the foreskin at the end of the penis. Like the penis, the clitoris is very sensitive to stimulation and can become erect.