The right ovary is rudimentary, whereas the functional left ovary has two lobes located ventral to the kidneys within the peritoneal cavity.
The ovary has a vascular medulla surrounded by the cortex and covered by the tunica albuginea with its dense capillary network. The germinal epithelium is a layer of cuboidal to columnar cells attached to the tunica albuginea. The ovary has ovarian follicles in one of five stages of development: 1) primary follicles; 2) growing follicles; 3) mature follicles; 4) discharged or ovulated follicles; and 5) atretic follicles. The ovum has a nucleus and cytoplasm surrounded by a vitelline membrane and the zona pellucida. Granulosa cells surround the zona pellucida and are separated from theca interna cells by a basement membrane. The theca interna cells merge into the stroma of the ovarian cortex.
The ovary is the site for maturation and ovulation of ova and production of both estrogen and progesterone by granulosa and theca cells of preovulatory and postovula-tory follicles.
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