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.
Review Date 4/5/2016
Updated by: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.