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What are follicles?

Julia Schlam Edelman
OBGYN (Obstetrics & Gynecology)
The ovaries in a female fetus can contain up to two million follicles, tiny cysts that may develop into eggs. Some follicles dissolve before a baby girl is born, but the majority of follicles remain in her body. At birth, a female infant begins releasing eggs from her ovaries. She cannot conceive, however, until her body goes through puberty and is primed for her first menstrual period -- somewhere between ages 9 and 16 years. This marks the beginning of her reproductive years, when her biology is geared to conceiving children. After menstruation is established, follicles can be released as eggs during ovulation. Eggs released during ovulation are available for fertilization by male sperm. Eggs that are not fertilized by sperm dissolve in the pelvis or abdominal cavity.

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