How Do Hormones Affect Reproduction?

Hormones are the chemical messengers produced directly into the bloodstream. They mediate between tissues of the body to carry out functions. The reproductive cycles of males and females are governed by the interaction of hormones from the hypothalamus gland and pituitary gland with hormones from reproductive organs and tissues. The Hypothalamus supervises and brings about the release of hormones from the pituitary gland. It sends the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to the anterior pituitary whenever reproductive hormone is required which brings about the release of LH(luteinizing hormone) and FSH(follicle stimulating hormone) from the anterior pituitary into the bloodstream. The prerequisite is that the body must have reached puberty for the adrenals to release hormones for the production of GnRH. Sex hormones are crucial for sexual development(puberty). Oestrogen and testosterone are the main reproductive hormones in females and males respectively.

Oestrogen facilitates maturation of eggs in ovaries on the onset of puberty in females which are released at regular intervals causing menstrual cycle while testosterone stimulates the production of sperm in males. FSH and LH cause stimulation and release of eggs in females. The hormones – Oestrogen and progesterone maintain the lining of the uterus. As the egg moves towards the fallopian tube, progesterone is released by the corpus luteum which prepares the body in the event of pregnancy.

Pregnancy causes the release of high levels of progesterone and estrogen which prevents further maturation of eggs and prevents uterine contractions to avoid disturbance to the embryo, they also facilitate lactation. Estrogen causes the release of oxytocin and relaxin during various levels of pregnancy.

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