Extra-Embryonic Membranes and Placenta
The extra embryonic membranes like you already know provide nourishment and protection. These membranes are fundamentally similar to the extra-embryonic membranes of reptiles and birds, however the method of origin differs in humans. During the third and fourth week, the amnion grows around the embryo enclosing it in a membranous fluid filled sac in which the growing embryo and later the foetus floats and can move freely. This sac as mentioned in the previous section is a shock absorber and encloses a fluid, the amniotic fluid, that helps to keep the temperature of foetal environment stable. Another membrane, the chorion develops from the trophoblast cells. The chorion is a extremely specialised extraembryonic tissue. It facilitates the transfer of gases, nutrients and wastes among the embryo and the mother. It is the primary part of the placenta that we will study a little later. Yolk sac develops during the second week of development even though there is no yolk in the human egg. It does not give nourishment to the embryo but it becomes surrounded by mesoderm that forms the blood cells till the liver of the embryo becomes functional in the sixth week. The yolk sac with the allantois forms the umbilical cord. Part of the yolk sac also forms the lining of the gut. The allantois that forms during the third week of development is a tiny sausage shaped pouch on the yolk sac. It also is accountable for producing blood cells and later develops into the umbilical blood vessels.