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BIO 140 Human Biology I - Questions and Solutions

Anatomy and Physiology of the Female Reproductive System - Solutions

Review Questions

1. What are the female gonads called?

  1. oocytes
  2. ova
  3. oviducts
  4. ovaries

2. When do the oogonia undergo mitosis?

  1. before birth
  2. at puberty
  3. at the beginning of each menstrual cycle
  4. during fertilization

3. From what structure does the corpus luteum originate?

  1. uterine corpus
  2. dominant follicle
  3. fallopian tube
  4. corpus albicans

4. Where does fertilization of the egg by the sperm typically occur?

  1. vagina
  2. uterus
  3. uterine tube
  4. ovary

5. Why do estrogen levels fall after menopause?

  1. The ovaries degrade.
  2. There are no follicles left to produce estrogen.
  3. The pituitary secretes a menopause-specific hormone.
  4. The cells of the endometrium degenerate.

6. The vulva includes the ________.

  1. lactiferous duct, rugae, and hymen
  2. lactiferous duct, endometrium, and bulbourethral glands
  3. mons pubis, endometrium, and hymen
  4. mons pubis, labia majora, and Bartholin’s glands


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Critical Thinking Questions

1. Follow the path of ejaculated sperm from the vagina to the oocyte. Include all structures of the female reproductive tract that the sperm must swim through to reach the egg.

Solution: The sperm must swim upward in the vagina, through the cervix, and then through the body of the uterus to one or the other of the two uterine tubes. Fertilization generally occurs in the uterine tube.

2. Identify some differences between meiosis in men and women.

Solution: Meiosis in the man results in four viable haploid sperm, whereas meiosis in the woman results in a secondary oocyte and, upon completion following fertilization by a sperm, one viable haploid ovum with abundant cytoplasm and up to three polar bodies with little cytoplasm that are destined to die.

3. Explain the hormonal regulation of the phases of the menstrual cycle.

Solution: As a result of the degradation of the corpus luteum, a decline in progesterone concentrations triggers the shedding of the endometrial lining, marking the menses phase of the menstrual cycle. Low progesterone levels also reduce the negative feedback that had been occurring at the hypothalamus and pituitary, and result in the release of GnRH and, subsequently, FSH and LH. FSH stimulates tertiary follicles to grow and granulosa and theca cells begin to produce increased amounts of estrogen. High estrogen concentrations stimulate the endometrial lining to rebuild, marking the proliferative phase of the menstrual cycle. The high estrogen concentrations will eventually lead to a decrease in FSH because of negative feedback, resulting in atresia of all but one of the developing tertiary follicles. The switch to positive feedback that occurs with elevated estrogen production from the dominant follicle stimulates the LH surge that will trigger ovulation. The luteinization of the granulosa cells of the collapsed follicle forms the progesterone-producing corpus luteum. Progesterone from the corpus luteum causes the endometrium to prepare for implantation, in part by secreting nutrient-rich fluid. This marks the secretory phase of the menstrual cycle. Finally, in a non-fertile cycle, the corpus luteum will degrade and menses will occur.

4. Endometriosis is a disorder in which endometrial cells implant and proliferate outside of the uterus—in the uterine tubes, on the ovaries, or even in the pelvic cavity. Offer a theory as to why endometriosis increases a woman’s risk of infertility.

Solution: Endometrial tissue proliferating outside of the endometrium—for example, in the uterine tubes, on the ovaries, or within the pelvic cavity—could block the passage of sperm, ovulated oocytes, or a zygote, thus reducing fertility.


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OpenStax, Anatomy and Physiology of the Female Reproductive System. OpenStax CNX. Jul 16, 2014 http://cnx.org/contents/9cccba49-6490-4e5b-a366-9991b7dbc56c@5. © Jul 16, 2014 OpenStax. Textbook content produced by OpenStax is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license.