Reproductive System, Part 1 – Female Reproductive System: Crash Course A&P #40

Reproductive System, Part 1 – Female Reproductive System: Crash Course A&P #40

Maybe you’ve noticed that every time we
talk about a new system, we highlight its importance by saying how you’d die without
it. Like, without your muscular and skeletal systems
you’d collapse into an inert bag of goo. Or how if we magically removed your respiratory
or circulatory system, you’d die in a couple of minutes ‘cause your cells wouldn’t
have oxygen. That’s because most of our bodies’ systems
are just trying to keep us alive, minute to minute. But one of those systems doesn’t really care if
you live or die. At least, not until it’s done its job. It’s how every living thing gets its start,
but it doesn’t really kick in until puberty, and even then it’s more concerned about
investing in the future than keeping you alive. When it comes to your reproductive system,
it’s not concerned about you, so much as it is about your alleles, your genetic code,
and the future of the human species. Which are no small stakes. This system includes our primary, internal
sex organs, the gonads — like testes and ovaries — the various sex hormones they secrete,
and the gametes — the sperm and eggs — they produce. It also includes the glands, ducts, external
genitalia, and particular brain parts that help the gonads and gametes do what they need to do, which
basically is mate, combine alleles, and make babies. Now, all animals have their own particular
and fascinating anatomical methods for getting their gametes together, and we could do a
whole course just on that, and never run out of material, and let me tell you, I would
like to do that. But while we may seem kinda tame compared
to animals that turn bright red, bite off penises, or starve themselves for a chance
to breed, our systems are still plenty complex. In fact, it’s gonna take most of the month
to get through all our various anatomical parts and hormones, and explain how sexy time,
fertilization, pregnancy, and development work, starting today with the female anatomy. And remember, this is nothing to be shy about
— when we’re talking about sex, we’re talking about the future of humanity. So, when we talk about sex, we’re talking
about spreading our alleles around. But when we visualize sex, what most of what we picture
are our anatomies. Who has what. And what goes where. In an anatomical female, that involves the
vulva, which includes the mons pubis over the pubic bone, and labia majora and labia
minora — the elongated skin folds that surround the vestibule, which contains both the urethral
and vaginal openings. Beyond that is the vagina, which I’m sure
you know is how menstrual blood and babies leave the body, and how sperm gets in. But, as much as we tend to put all the focus
on the bathing-suit parts, those are only the genitalia — the external sexual organs. And they’re really just a means of getting
gametes together. Reproductively speaking, they’re the least important parts of the
system. The ground control of the female reproductive
anatomy — the place where the orders are given — are of course the ovaries. Their main job is to produce and release female gametes and sex
hormones like estrogen and progesterone. You’ll remember from biology that gametes
are haploid cells, meaning that they only have one set of chromosomes, and are formed
by meiosis. When a sperm fuses with an egg, they make
a diploid cell, which has all the genetic instructions required to make a baby. And
pretty much everything about how our reproductive systems work is designed to make that happen. Each ovary lives inside a fibrous sac that
consists of a layer of connective tissue called the tunica albuginea, and another layer of
cuboidal epithelial cells called the germinal epithelium, which is actually part of the
peritoneum that lines the abdominal cavity. The ovary itself contains a cortex that houses
developing eggs, and a medulla that contains most of the ovary’s blood vessels and nerves. But the business of passing on alleles and
saving humanity really begins in the basic reproductive units in the cortex — the ovarian
follicles. These are tiny-sac-like structures that each
hold a single primary oocyte — a sort of incomplete proto-egg — along with a bunch
of supporting follicle cells around it. Females are born with essentially all of these
early versions of eggs in all of the primordial follicles they will ever have — around 1
million at the time of birth. But right around birth, the oocytes stop developing
— they get stuck in the first stage of meiosis. And they stay that way for years, sometimes
forever. The actual process of egg creation, or oogenesis,
is delayed until puberty, when the rest of the body is physically ready to reproduce. Now, this works differently for us than it
does for some other animals. Like, if you’re a salmon or a mayfly, then all of your eggs
will mature at once, and then you’ll mate, reproduce, and usually die, in quick succession. I mean, people talk about living fast and
dying young, but that — that’s too fast. So human eggs mature one-by-one, almost constantly,
doled out so that every month or so, a mature egg is either fertilized, or dies to make
way for a new egg. This should all sound familiar if you were
born with female anatomy, or know anyone who was, because it’s a big part of the well-known
monthly menstrual cycle. But the truth is, menstruation is only one
part of one cycle. The menstrual cycle is what happens in the
uterus to prepare for a fertilized egg. The other cycle, the ovarian cycle, is all about
the maturation of the follicle and egg, and it’s actually what drives the menstrual
cycle. Every day, even before birth, a bunch of follicles
will begin a process of maturation, very slowly morphing from primordial follicles into what’s
known as late-tertiary follicles, which are the ones that will support a fully developed
egg. This process takes 375 days. But out of that bunch of follicles — usually
about 20 or so — only one follicle will end up supporting a single, mature egg. The rest
won’t get the hormonal boost they need to bring the egg to completion. This is what
happens to the one that start maturing before puberty, for example, so they undergo atresia,
a kind of programmed self- destruction. And because I keep mentioning puberty, which
you’ve probably been through yourself, it should come as no surprise that all of this
activity is regulated by sex hormones. Starting around puberty, the hypothalamus
and pituitary set up two concurrent cycles — the ovarian cycle in the ovaries, which
ripens eggs and secretes sex hormones, and the menstrual, or the uterine cycle, which
prepares the uterus to capture and nourish any mature, fertilized eggs. When puberty begins the hypothalamus starts up the
ovarian cycle by secreting gonadotropin-releasing hormone about once a month. This is a sex
hormone that stimulates the anterior pituitary to release two more hormones: follicle-stimulating
hormone — you’ll often hear it called FSH — and luteinizing hormone, or LH. The follicle-stimulating hormone lives up
to its name by stimulating the growth of a follicle — but only one: the one that happens
to be furthest along in development at the time. The FSH drives that one lucky follicle to
keep growing, by triggering the follicle itself to secrete its own estrogen hormones, which
locally signal the follicle to mature even more. That surge of follicle-secreted estrogen then
ends up stimulating the pituitary to secrete another pulse of luteinizing hormone to finish
the job. The LH gets to work on the oocyte that’s
been dormant inside the follicle, and triggers it to finally start dividing again — getting it to
complete meiosis I and move on to metaphase II. This whole process takes about 14 days, at
the end of which, the follicle — which is now mature — pushes up against the ovary
wall, ruptures, and, with the help of enzymes, breaches the wall and ejects a single, now
mature, oocyte. Congratulations. You’ve just ovulated. The damaged follicle now slows its estrogen
production while morphing into a different structure, called the corpus luteum, which
eventually degenerates. But first it releases a final hormonal swan
song — a bunch of progesterone, a little estrogen, and some inhibin — that together
stop the release of FSH and LH. They also prepare the uterus to receive the
oocyte, which is now on its way down a fallopian tube, where it might meet a nice young sperm. The tubes are about 10 centimeters long, and
interestingly, they aren’t actually connected to the ovaries. This means that when the egg
pushes through ovary, it has to float a short way through the peritoneal cavity before it’s
caught by a fallopian tube. Now, only if and when an egg fuses with a
sperm does it actually complete meiosis II and officially become an ovum. But, whether it’s fertilized or not, the
egg works its way down the tube until it enters the uterus, a hollow, thick-walled, and very
stretchable muscular organ that sits anterior to the rectum and posterosuperior to the bladder,
and ends with the cervix. And the uterine wall is composed of three
layers: the perimetrium on the outside; the bulky, smooth muscle myometrium that contracts
during labor; and the inner mucosal lining, the endometrium, which consists of a thin,
deep basal layer, and an outer functional layer. If fertilization does happen, then the new
embryo snuggles into the endometrium for gestation — but the uterus is only receptive to implantation
for a short time, about a week after ovulation. If the egg isn’t fertilized, that outer,
functional layer sloughs off. And that’s the first phase of the uterine,
or menstrual cycle — the series of changes that the endometrium goes through every 28
days or so, in response to changing hormone levels, and in coordination with the ovarian
cycle. The shedding of the functional layer is triggered
when the progesterone and estrogens that were being produced by the corpus luteum start
to drop, about 10 days after ovulation. This phase lasts about 5 days. Meanwhile, the FSH and LH released from the
anterior pituitary start to rise again, stimulating the next round of follicles, which begin to
make estrogen. This heralds the start of phase two of the
menstrual cycle, the proliferative, or pre-ovulatory phase, which typically lasts from days 6-14
of the cycle. The rising estrogen levels in the follicles
stimulate the regeneration of the endometrium, building a cushy, well-vascularized habitat
for another potential fertilized egg to call home. And after the next egg is released, the final
secretory, or postovulatory phase begins. This is when the ruptured follicle forms in
the corpus luteum. And if fertilization didn’t happen, the corpus will stop producing progesterone,
and the endometrium will start to shed its functional layer. And it starts all over again. BUT! If, by this time, the egg has met a nice
sperm and gotten fertilized, then the pulse of progesterone from the corpus triggers even
more thickening of the functional layer of the endometrium, and a secretion of nutrients
that will tide an embryo over until it has implanted itself in the blood-rich lining. Which is a big if. Like, its whole separate video “big.”
So that’s where we’re going next time! But for now, you learned all about female
reproductive anatomy, how sex hormones affect oogenesis and ovulation, and how the ovarian
and menstrual cycles mature and release oocytes, and create a comfy uterine environment for
a fertilized egg. Thank you to our Headmaster of Learning, Linnea
Boyev, and thank you to all of our Patreon Patrons whose monthly contributions help make
Crash Course exist not only for themselves, but for everyone, everywhere. If you like
Crash Course and want to help us keep making videos like this one, you can go to This episode of Crash Course was filmed in
the Doctor Cheryl C. Kinney Crash Course Studio. It was written by Kathleen Yale, edited by
Blake de Pastino, and our consultant is Dr. Brandon Jackson. It was directed by Nicholas
Jenkins, edited by Nicole Sweeney, our sound designer is Michael Aranda, and the graphics
team is Thought Cafe.

100 Replies to “Reproductive System, Part 1 – Female Reproductive System: Crash Course A&P #40”

  1. Maybe you have already answered this or perhaps no one has asked yet, but please explain why, when the diagram of the female genitalia is shown and the parts are labelled, is the clitorus not? Since it is very much a significant body part.

  2. What happened to corpus albican? And it would´ve been nice if there was also a mentioning of the gametogenesis prior to birth and puberty

  3. You forgot the clitoris which is equally important to the rest of the reproductive tract. The ability to conceive increases when both people orgasm. Not just one.

  4. هل تعانــي من ضعف الجنسي ؟ 🔥 هل لديك مشكل من صغر القضييب ؟ والله لكـــم الحل لزيـــادة 🔥 في قوتك الجنسية .. ها رقم طبــيب تواصل معاه عبر الوتــــــــــــساب ☎00212649686727☎

  5. If you're studying for your GCSEs, watch my illustrated video to learn about reproductive hormones at the right level 🙂

  6. Please please slow down you speaking. It makes it almost impossible for many to get the substance matter.

  7. I taking A&P college course and I barely learn anything from the book. These online videos makes everything much easier!! I wish he would slow down when he talks though. I have to watch the videos two or three times just to make sure I don't miss anything. lol

  8. تريد تقوي قدراتك الجنـــسية ☑️: توااصل معنا عــبر الوـتـــــــتساب ⬅️:*-00212649557676|

  9. testis ovaries sperm eggs external genital organs vagina ovaries gamites hormones eggs one million menstrual ovarion when an ooecyte goes through the ovarian wall 10 uterus week fertilization

  10. So this is how carbon lifeforms do it. We reproduce through budding (we have other ways) and may able to mate.

  11. Also something cool I learned is that the egg does not necessarily come out the opposite ovary every month (like alternating). Sometimes it may be the left ovary for 3 months in a row, etc.

  12. I was really expecting the comments to be disabled. Thank you, mature viewers, for not making me want to poke my eyes out and instead feel pleasantly impressed.

  13. everytime i watch his video, i need to hold my breath to hear each word come out from his mouth…dude, pls slow your speech….

  14. I would like to thank you from my heart for two reasons. First, for your comprehensive explanation. Second, to include the Arabic translation in the video.

  15. When i first started watching you, your talking speed felt like a machine, and i was saying, slow down man, why the rush….but after awhile i got used to it, and now i enjoy your videos alot, thank you!

  16. At 7:05, once the egg is fertilized by the sperm, it is an Ovum, but it becomes a Zygote once the nucleus of the sperm cell and secondary oocyte merge.

  17. wait i’m confused. you said if the egg doesn’t get fertilized 10 days after ovulation it won’t work? but can’t you get pregnant at any time? i’m sorry i’m a little slow today.

  18. One hydrogen atom in the main hormone, few micrometers, few seconds, a different food for the dinner. And i would have this system, i would get closer to the reputation and the physiology i wanted.


  19. When we made a decision for one more baby with my partner, we went for the “Gοfαt Fanvuko” (Goοgle it) If you want to learn why this method is life-changing, feel free to check out Goοgle. By following a proper diet and also the plan, I was able to attain pregnancy in 3 months. I was able to develop and boost my life style right after using this plan..

  20. this guy is talking too fast , can you be a little bit slower ? but i enjoy watching your videos ^_^ thanks for uploading this

  21. Thank you for the wonderfull lesson sir…..but I would be highly grateful if you could be a bit slow while speaking because it takes quite sometime to understand.

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