Most of us don’t know too much about the female eggs – it’s a shame that we know more facts about the eggs in a carton than these eggs. Here are some interesting facts about the female eggs:
- They are made quite early. The female reproductive system makes the eggs about nine weeks after conception. Then, the ovary produces about 7 million oocytes (female gametocytes involved in reproduction) in only 5 months. Until birth, most of the immature egg cells die off.
- The eggs are huge! If you compare the egg cells with other body cells, you will see that there is a huge difference in size. The female eggs have a diameter of 100 microns, and are thick as a strand of hair.
- They are precious. A woman ovulates about 400-500 eggs during her lifetime, making the eggs more precious and rarer than sperm. A single ejaculation releases more sperms than a woman produces eggs in her lifetime! That’s why there are egg donors that cost hundreds of dollars for just one egg.
- The eggs have extended adolescence. The egg cells grow-up slow – they need years to reach adolescence, and mature right before ovulation.
- They are quite fragile. As the female eggs are fragile, a technique called vitrification can harden their outer layer and make them more resilient.
- Female eggs age fast. A young woman has healthier eggs than an older one, which is normal. But, a 24-year old woman may have 90% viable eggs, and a 40-year old will have just about 10%. This is the main why women often extract and freeze their eggs.
- The eggs are monogamous. The eggs allow entrance to only a single sperm. They have a special “organelle” that releases proteins and enzymes to ensure that another sperm doesn’t get in.
- Eggs are the baby-making machine! Sperm was always believed to be the main reproductive and life-containing cell. However, it’s actually the female eggs who have that power. They also pass half the genes to the baby.
- Egg-donation: it’s not as fun as it looks. Egg-donation is a complete medical procedure, which is a lot tougher than sperm donation. The donor first gets a hormonal injection so they create a single egg. After the egg is produced, a doctor inserts a catheter inside the birth canal and sucks out the fluid from the follicle.