Tubes are where the real action happens: the sperm fertilizing the egg. Your ovaries create eggs, but it’s too difficult for sperm to travel all the way to your ovaries. So when an egg is ready to be fertilized, one of your ovaries will release it. A fallopian tube catches that egg, and provides a friendly environment for the egg and sperm to meet. Then the fallopian tube will use its hairs and muscles to move the fertilized egg into your uterus.

How fallopian tubes actually work

Your fallopian tubes hug your uterus, connecting to its upper corners and extending like two arms down to each side’s ovary. Neat fact: your fallopian tubes don’t actually connect to your ovaries! At their ends, the tubes are covered in feathery fringes called “fimbria”. The fimbria catch the egg released from the ovary, and are where the egg and sperm can make contact.

Inside your fallopian tubes, there are millions of hair-like fibers. With help from the tubes’ muscles, the fibers pull the sperm-fertilized egg from the fimbria and carry it into the uterus.

By this point in the menstrual cycle, your hormones will have prepared your uterus’ walls for the fertilized egg to burrow in and implant. The embryo stays here, nourished and protected, until it’s a full-grown baby ready for birth.