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Ovaries and Testes

Gonads i.e. the female ovaries and the male testes produce eggs and sperms respectively. The production of sex hormones too, is done by the ovaries and testes – the most important of which are oestrogens and progesterone in females, and testosterone in males. Release of these sex hormones is stimulated by follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) from the anterior pituitary gland. Before puberty, FSH and LH are almost nil or absent in the blood. However, during puberty, they begin to rise, causing the ovaries and testes to increase hormone production. Due to this, the secondary sexual characteristics develop and the body is prepared for reproductive functions. The hormone inhibin inhibits the release of FSH and LH. In females, it plays a role in the menstrual cycle, while in males it is responsible for regulating sperm production. The ovaries also produce relaxin, which plays the role of preparing the body for reproduction and childbirth.

Ovarian Hormones
Oestrogen and progesterone are responsible for stimulation of production of eggs, regulation of menstrual cycle, and conceiving. They also prepare the breasts for lactation and promote development of secondary sexual characteristics at puberty.
Relaxin – makes the pubic symphysis more flexible during pregnancy, and helps the cervix to widen during labour and delivery.
Inhibin – Inhibits secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone from the anterior pituitary.

Testicular Hormones
Testosterone – stimulates descent of testes before birth, regulates sperm production and promotes development of secondary sexual characteristics during puberty.
Inhibin – Inhibits secretion of follicle-stimulating hormone from the anterior pituitary.


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