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For most women, the mature female body prepares each month for pregnancy. This occurs on a schedule that usually ranges from 25 to 32 days, though the average is 28 days. During this cycle, called the Menstrual Cycle, the body experiences hormonal changes that stimulate the three (3) primary phases of the cycle:
1) follicular phase - where eggs are being ripened for release, during the:
2) ovulatory phase - when the egg is released into the fallopian tube, then comes the:
3) luteal phase - when the lining of the uterus thickens and prepares to accept the (hopefully) fertilized egg.
These phases are controlled by a complex series of hormones, released in a specific sequence, which prepare the egg, stimulate its release, and then prepare the uterus for receipt of the egg.
If the egg is not fertilized by sperm, after ovulation and before the egg reaches the lining of the uterus, the uterus will shed its thickened lining, resulting in a woman's "period."
Understanding the Menstrual Cycle can help to demonstrate how even small variations in this precise sequence of events, can impact female infertility.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|