How does my monthly cycle work?

Every 28 days (or thereabouts), between the ages of around 13 and 51, a woman will release a mature egg from her ovary which has the potential to be fertilised and develop into an embryo. If fertilisation does not occur, then the mature egg, along with spongy lining of the womb which developed to protect and nourish the developing embryo, is lost through the menstrual bleed.

This is all information we know, however the hormonal changes that govern our monthly cycle tend to be more of a mystery to us. A distant memory of a biology lesson might tell you that oestrogen, progesterone and FSH all play a role, but what that role is we can’t quite remember.

This leaflet aims to provide an overview of some of the key processes involved in our menstrual cycle and how these relate to our fertility.