The Human Egg Makes Its Debut 

Amazing. Scientists in Belgium have just captured images of human ovulation occuring on camera–the “best ever” taken according to New Scientist–and it was all completely by accident:

“The release of the oocyte from the ovary is a crucial event in human reproduction,” says Jacques Donnez at the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) in Brussels, Belgium. “These pictures are clearly important to better understand the mechanism.”

Observing ovulation in humans is extremely rare, and previous images have been fuzzy. Donnez captured the event by accident while preparing to carry out a partial hysterectomy on a 45-year-old woman. The release of an egg was considered a sudden, explosive event, but his pictures, to be published in Fertility and Sterility, show it taking place over a period of at least 15 minutes.

(Photo by Flickr user Darren Hester [CC])


June 12, 2008