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menstrual flow consists of a thin, bloody fluid, having peculiar odor,
in which is combined blood, thin skin, and mucus membrane, and also
mucus from the Uterus and the Vagina, the blood being light in
consistency and not clotted.
During the menstrual period the ovum, or egg, is discharged, and enters
the Uterus, as we shall see presently.
THE LIFE-HISTORY OF THE OVUM. The physiology of the remaining sexual
organs of the woman may perhaps best be studied by considering the story
of the Life-History of the Ovum, or human egg, for the functions of such
organs are concerned with such life-history of the egg, and really exist
merely to create such a history, or rather, to produce the process which
constitutes the basis of such history.
The ovum, or egg, when discharged from the ovary, is at first surrounded
by a few cells which serve as nourishment, but which soon disappear. It
enters the Fallopian Tube and begins its journey toward the Uterus,
being urged on its way by the constant movement of the lining-cells of
the interior of the tube, in the direction of the Uterus. Certain
changes in structure occur. Its passage to the Uterus may be
interrupted, and the ovum lost and finally cast off. But the ovum that
is successful finally arrives at the Uterus where it awaits impregnation
or fertilization by the spermatozoon of the male.
If copulation occurs within a reasonable time after the arrival of the
ovum, it is impregnated or fertilized. Fecundation results and
conception ensues, the ovum then remaining attached to the walls of the
Uterus, and in time develops into the foetus. If, however, the ovum is
not impregnated, because of absence of copulation or from other causes,
it gradually loses its vitality, and is finally cast off with the
several uterine secretions.
It should be explained here that the "spermatozoon" of the male (the
plural of the term is "spermatozoa") is the male generative "seed." The
sperum, semen, or seminal fluid of the male is filled with hundreds of
thousands of spermatozoa. Each spermatozoon is a minute living, moving
creature, resembling a microscopic tadpole. It has a head, a rod-like
body, and a thin hair-like tail, the latter being kept in constant
motion from side to side, by means of which the tiny creature is enabled
to travel rapidly from one point to another. The human spermatozoon
measures about one six-hundredth of an inch in length. It is composed of
protoplasm, the substance of which all living creatures are composed.
The spermatozoa are believed to be developed from a parent sperm-cell,
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