Image above is a rare and startling film which has been captured of a human egg emerging from the ovary.
Fertile women release one or more eggs every month, but until now, only fuzzy images had been recorded..
The new images were taken by accident by gynaecologist Jacques Donnez while carrying out a partial hysterectomy on a 45-year-old woman.
The release of an egg was thought to be a sudden event, but the pictures published in New Scientist magazine show it takes over 15 minutes for the translucent yellow sphere to emerge.
“The release of the oocyte (immature egg cell) from the ovary is a crucial event in human reproduction. These pictures are clearly important to better understand the mechanism,” Donnez, from the Catholic University of Louvain in Brussels, said..
Shortly before the egg is released, enzymes break down the tissue in a fluid-filled sac on the surface of the ovary that contains the egg. A reddish protrusion forms and then a hole appears from which the egg emerges.
The egg is surrounded by supporting cells, which protect it as it enters the Fallopian tube on its way to the uterus.
Professor Alan McNeilly, from the Medical Research Council’s Human Reproduction Unit in Edinburgh, told the BBC: “It really is a fascinating insight into ovulation, and to see it in real life is an incredibly rare occurrence.
“It really is a pivotal moment in the whole process, the beginnings of life in a way.”