After this is done, a hole called the stigma will form in the follicle, and the secondary oocyte will leave the follicle through this hole.

Ovulation is triggered by a spike in the amount of FSH and LH released from the pituitary gland.

An increase in cumulus cell number causes a concomitant increase in antrum fluid volume that can swell the follicle to over 20 mm in diameter.

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The secondary oocyte leaves the ruptured follicle and moves out into the peritoneal cavity through the stigma, where it is caught by the fimbriae at the end of the fallopian tube (also called the oviduct).

After entering the oviduct, the oocyte is pushed along by cilia, beginning its journey toward the uterus.

If no conception occurs, the uterine lining as well as blood will be shed during menstruation.

Ovulation occurs about midway through the menstrual cycle, after the follicular phase, and is followed by the luteal phase.

Estrogen levels peak towards the end of the follicular phase.

This causes a surge in levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

After ovulation, during the luteal phase, the egg will be available to be fertilized by sperm.

In addition, the uterine lining (endometrium) is thickened to be able to receive a fertilized egg.

Mucification is the secretion of a hyaluronic acid-rich cocktail that disperses and gathers the cumulus cell network in a sticky matrix around the ovum.

This network stays with the ovum after ovulation and has been shown to be necessary for fertilization.

Following a surge of luteinizing hormone (LH), an oocyte (immature egg cell) will be released into the uterine tube, where it will then be available to be fertilized by a male’s sperm.