The ovaries are part of a woman’s reproductive system. They are located in the pelvis. Each ovary is similar in size and shape to an almond. The ovaries produce eggs, called ova, and also make female hormones.
During a woman’s monthly cycle, the egg, encased in a sac called a follicle, grows inside the ovary. On about day 14 of the menstrual cycle, the egg is released from the ovary. This is called ovulation, which is the time during which a woman can become pregnant.
After ovulation, the empty ovarian follicle becomes the corpus luteum, which remains in the ovary until the next menstrual period. The corpus luteum makes hormones that prepare the uterus for the potential arrival of a fertilized egg.
In addition to producing eggs, the ovaries are the main source of female hormones, known as estrogen and progesterone. These hormones control the development of a woman’s body, including her breasts, body shape, and body hair. They also regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle and pregnancy.
When a woman goes through menopause, her ovaries stop releasing eggs and the level of hormone production decreases dramatically.