4 Preparing for conception

4.6 Hormonal control of egg production

As you can see from the preceeding section, hormones play a crucial role in the maturation of the oocyte. Figure 3 showed you how levels of oestogen and progestogen vary throughout the menstrual cycle, and suggested that hormone balance is important for a woman's fertility, but you can now see how subtle the control really is. Cells have to develop sensitivity to hormones at the times when the hormones are likely to be present, otherwise the entire operation will fail.

Q At which stages of egg production is this important, and which hormones are involved?

A FSH and LH at the end of the first stage of maturation; LH alone just prior to ovulation.

Once again, then, there is a significant contribution to the entire process by the pituitary gland.