The ovaries are two small glands, located on either side of a woman's uterus, that are part of the female reproductive system. The ovaries produce female sex hormones and store and release eggs (ova), which can develop into embryos if fertilized by a male's sperm.

The female sex hormones (estrogen and progesterone) help control the menstrual cycle, breast development, and other functions. Approximately once a month, about 2 weeks before a woman's next period is due, one of her ovaries releases an egg (ovulation).

Current as of: March 12, 2014

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology