Name: Giles N.
Roughly how many eggs does a typical human female have at
birth? How many of these are lost during ovulation over a lifetime and
what happens to the remaining eggs after the menopause?
The best answer that I came up with for you is found in an article on
"Inducing Ovulation" from the Healthology Health Information Library:
It states that "Women are born with a finite number of eggs. At birth, a
woman has around 1 to 2 million eggs. However, throughout her life, a
woman loses eggs through a destructive process called atresia. At
puberty, only around 400,000 eggs remain. Throughout the reproductive
life span, from puberty until menopause, women lose about 1,000 eggs each
month. Of these thousand eggs, only one is released. Once released, it is
picked up by the fallopian tube. If a couple has sexual intercourse around
this time, fertilization (the joining of the egg and sperm) may take place."
Finally, according to the following article on "Menopause, Estrogen Loss,
and Their Treatments " from the UC Davis Health System (
http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/health/a-z/40Menopause/doc40.html ), "As a
woman ages, her supply of eggs declines. Menopause occurs naturally after
the woman's supply of follicles has been depleted and menstruation ends
completely. (Menopause may also be induced if the ovaries are surgically
So there you have it. Thanks a lot for the interesting questions,
Jeff Buzby, Ph.D.
Children's Hospital of Orange County
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Update: June 2012