Follicle cycle

Fertility Specialist Kristin Bendikson, MD, explains what the follicle cycle is and the role that it plays in conception and pregnancy
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Follicle cycle

So a follicle is a fluid filled sac within the ovary that contains an egg. Each follicle contains one egg. It is pretty typical in a young woman to have about 10 to 15 follicles that we can see on an ultrasound at any given time. As a woman gets older, she is going to have less follicles. So from the time of a woman´s menstrual cycle to the time of ovulation, which occurs mid cycle, all of these follicles are going to begin to grow in response to hormones that are secreted by the brain. What happens is that one follicle is going to grow faster than the others and it is going to become the dominant follicle, the follicle that is eventually going to ovulate. This causes a shift in the hormones. And so the other follicles actually stop growing and eventually will regress. The dominant follicle will continue to grow and the egg inside of it will mature. And the follicle surrounding that egg will secrete estrogen. This estrogen is a signal to the brain that the egg is ready to ovulate. The LH surge is secreted then from the brain. The LH surge is the signal for the egg to complete its maturation and for the follicle to rupture open to burst and release the egg. And this is ovulation. The egg is released into the abdominal cavity. It is picked up by the fallopian tube where the sperm will meet it to fertilize the egg. The follicle actually remains inside the ovary. It does not disappear right away. And in fact, it secretes very important hormones, estrogen and progesterone, that help support the pregnancy and are imperative for implantation.

Fertility Specialist Kristin Bendikson, MD, explains what the follicle cycle is and the role that it plays in conception and pregnancy


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Kristin Bendikson, MD

Fertility Specialist

Dr. Kristin A. Bendikson joined USC Fertility after finishing her obstetrics and gynecology residency at Harvard Medical School and completing her subspecialty training in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the internationally renowned Center for Reproductive Medicine and Infertility at Cornell University Medical College. During that time, she received intensive training in ovulation induction, in vitro fertilization and fertility surgery, as well as the management of other disorders including recurrent pregnancy loss, endometriosis, and polycystic ovarian syndrome. Kristin received her undergraduate degree from UCLA and attended the prestigious New York University School of Medicine. Her extensive training and years in practice have prepared her to deal with the most difficult and challenging cases.

Kristin holds the title of Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility at the USC Keck School of Medicine. She is the currently the principal investigator of several research projects including the study of zygote intrafallopian tube transfer for women of advanced reproductive age, aging of the uterine endometrium and vitamin D and its role in infertility. It is her goal to provide the highest quality care for her patients and to help them fulfill their desire of having a healthy baby. In addition, she strives to guide her patients through what can be a trying and difficult journey by providing them with the support and personal attention they need.

Fertility expert, teacher, and researcher, Kristin is also a married mother of two. She resides in West Los Angeles with her family.

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