Ovulation occurs though a sequence of hormonal responses. Located deep within the brain, the pituitary gland releases the hormones FSH and LH, which travel through the blood stream to the ovaries. These hormones signal the development and release a single egg cell from one of the ovaries. The sweeping motion of the fimbriae draws the egg cell through a very small space in the open body cavity into the uterine, or fallopian, tube. The egg cell will either be fertilized by sperm or will dissolve if fertilization does not take place.
Update Date 3/11/2014
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.