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the species. It is the only body system which is not concerned with supporting the life of its host. Human reproduction is sexual--meaning that both a male and a female are required to produce a life. Gender is determined at conception by the sex chromosome in the sperm that fertilizes an egg. The developing male or female has a reproductive system characteristic of its sex. However, boys and girls can not reproduce until sexual maturation occurs at puberty. The male reproductive system is designed specifically to produce and deliver sperm to the egg in the female. The female reproductive system is designed to develop ova (eggs) and prepare for egg fertilization by a sperm. The male and female systems are both anatomically and biochemically designed to join and make a new life. However, the reproductive system is unique among body systems in that a person may choose not to use it to its full capacity--to procreate. Individuals can decide not to reproduce. The main tasks of the male reproductive system are to provide sex hormones, to produce sperm, and to transport sperm from the male to a female. The first two tasks are performed by the testes; while the third job is carried out by a series of ejaculatory ducts and the penis. The two testes are contained within the scrotum which hangs below the body between the legs. Each testis is attached at its top to an epididymis which contains numerous sperm ducts. The epidiymides (plural) send sperm through the vas deferens to the penis. However, the seminal vesicles, prostate, and bulbo-urethral glands each contribute to the seminal fluid which carries the sperm to the penis. The epididymides and part of the vas deferens are within the scrotum, but the glands creating the seminal fluid are in the abdomen. Each of the testes is divided into lobes, or septae, containing coiled seminiferous tubules lined with spermatozoa-producing cells. Between the tubules are hormone-producing cells called interstitial cells, or cells of Leydig. Testosterone is produced by the interstitial cells. Since the testes-containing scrotum hangs below the body, it has a temperature around 89°F (32°C) which is ideal for sperm production which requires a low temperature. When the scrotum is held too close to the body by restrictive clothing, sterility can result. The full maturation of a single sperm takes about 70-80 days. Hence, substances a male is exposed to during that period of time may effect the health of his sperm at the end of that time period. Sperm are always available in healthy males after puberty, because spermatogenesis is an ongoing process with cells in all stages of development existing in different layers of the seminiferous tubules. As many as several hundred million sperm can be produced each day. And one man has approximately a quarter mile of coiled seminiferous tubules which produce all these sperm. The vas deferens carries concentrated sperm from the scrotum into the abdominal cavity to the ejaculatory duct. Sperm that remain in the ejaculatory duct longer than a couple of weeks degenerate and are disposed of. The prostate surrounds the ejaculatory duct and contains a sphincter that closes off the bladder during ejaculation. Seminal fluid from the seminal vesicles, the
9 cm) long and 1. the penis must become erect and ejaculate semen close to an egg in the female reproductive tract. Sexual arousal has been divided into four stages by Masters and Johnson. However.5 in (3. or spongy body. The glans and the shaft are separated at the coronal ridge which is a rim of tissue that is very sensitive to touch. The stages of arousal are: excitement. Seminal fluid is designed to carry and nourish sperm. it can not effectively deliver sperm. allowing for vasocongestion which leads to an erection. additional Cowper secretions combine with the remaining seminal fluid and sperm. and resolution. The male stage of sexual excitement is marked by increased blood flow to the pelvic area and penis.8 cm) wide at its base. Seminal vesicles are located on either side of the bladder and contribute about 60% of the fluid. An average erect penis is 6. This may happen in a matter of seconds. The skin covering the penis is loose and allows for expansion during erection. Seminal vesicle fluid is rich in essential sperm nutrients such as fructose which sustains sperm for up to 72 hours after ejaculation. withdrawal is not a foolproof contraceptive method. The penis provides the route for transmitting sperm to an egg for reproduction. or head region. Three cylinders of spongy erectile tissue make up the internal portion of the penis. Two cylinders run along the inner roof of the penis and are called the corpora cavernosa. The penis is part of the male's external reproductive system which becomes longer. The seminal fluid plus the sperm is called semen. This semen is sent through the urethra in the penis. Hence. It is comprised of a shaft region which is the cylindrical body of the penis and the glans. it contains the urethra and is called the corpus spongiosum. Uncircumcised males must carefully clean the foreskin daily to prevent bacteria and foul-smelling secretions (called smegma) from accumulating. . orgasm. In order for the sperm to have the best chance of fertilizing an egg. The spongy body includes the penile tip and is more sensitive to touch than the rest of the penis. desires. Some males have a prepuce or foreskin which is a movable skin that covers the penile glans. thicker.25 in (15. Circumcised males have had this foreskin removed. Testes size also increases. At ejaculation. For this reason. plateau. arousal can be influenced by personal beliefs. and stiff during erection. or values. and the bulbo-urethral glands (or Cowper's glands) is added to the sperm.prostate. and nipples become erect in some men. but the physiology of reproductive versus non-reproductive sexual arousal is indistinguishable. These stages are the same whether the arousal results from physical stimulation (such as touch) or mental stimulation (such as reading an arousing book). Increased parasympathetic nerve activity causes the blood vessels in the penis to dilate. An erection occurs when blood flow to the spongy tissue vessels increases. The third cylinder runs along the lower side of the penis. Sexual intercourse does not necessarily lead to reproduction. Additional fluid is provided by the Cowper's glands (below the prostate) which secrete a pre-ejaculatory urethral lubricant that may contain some sperm. in its relaxed state. Several nerves and blood vessels run through the spongy body.
) When puberty begins.000 follicles remain. The female reproductive tract can be pictured as a capital Y with the upper arms forming the fallopian tubes. and the vagina would be the lower half. erection can not occur while the system "reloads. and blood pressure increase. receive sperm. Ova mature in the ovaries. Fertilization takes place usually in the fallopian tubes and less often in the uterus." The length of refractory period varies from a couple of minutes to several hours and increases with fatigue and age.5-3. Testes darken. (The rest have degenerated. External female genitals are involved in female sexual arousal. Women typically menstruate for 30-40 years losing 360-480 eggs in a lifetime.5 in (2. Unfertilized eggs are lost through menstruation. the head of the penis enlarges and darkens from blood pooling. develop ova. Sperm are received in the vagina and cervix. Respiration. These spindle cells multiply during the mid-fetal stage of development and become granulosa cells which surround the egg. In this stage. Male orgasm results from both emission and ejaculation. Several million primordial follicles capable of forming ova are formed. pre-ejaculatory secretion from the bulbo-urethral gland occurs. The formation of mature ova in the ovaries is called oogenesis. The ovaries would be at the end of these arms. all of a female fetus's eggs have been created by the sixth gestational month. and respiration. and heart rate return to normal. the job of the ovaries differs from that of the testes: while sperm are created daily through a man's life after puberty. heart rate. These events occur internally. with the newly formed life developing in the endometrial lining of the uterus. For ejaculation. The uterus would be the upper half of the supporting stalk. The ovaries are oval-shaped and about 1-1. when the uterine lining is shed. which occurs daily. During embryonic development. The ovaries parallel the testes in that they release sex hormones and develop gametes (ova or sperm). oogenesis is on an average 28 day (or monthly) cycle. In the resolution phase. At this point. and promote fertilization and the growth of a newly conceived life. and are lifted back away from the penis. Granulosa cells function much .The amount of time spent in the plateau phase varies considerably. They are connected to the body of the uterus by an ovarian ligament which tethers the ovaries in place. blood exits the penis and testes. The main tasks of the female reproductive system are to produce hormones. each of which contains an oocyte surrounded by a layer of spindle-shaped cells. Emission is the release of the ejaculatory fluid into the urethra. During the refractory period. About 1 million primordial follicles mature into primary follicles that still exist at birth. and sexual arousal enters a refractory period. However. about 400. Ovulation is hormonally suppressed during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth. Emission is caused by increased sympathetic nerve stimulation in the ejaculatory ducts and glands which leads to rhythmic contractions that force the fluid out. primordial follicles are formed. blood pressure. Unlike spermatogenesis. rhythmic contractions of the urethra expel the semen (usually 3-5 ml) while the prostate gland closes off the bladder.8 cm) long. enlarge from vasocongestion. and the penis relaxes. Mature eggs leave alternating ovaries monthly beginning in puberty in a process called ovulation.
like the Sertoli cells in men: they prevent destructive drugs from getting to the egg while also providing essential nutrients for its development. As the zygotic cell divides into more cells. cilia-lined channels about 4-6 in (10-15 cm) long that carry the oocyte to the uterus. is a muscular. then these hormone levels continue into pregnancy to prevent another cycle from beginning. The fallopian tubes are fluid-filled. After the onset of puberty. Embryo is a term used to describe . Once released. it expands with the growing embryo and fetus. However. It averages 3 in (7. the ovum is caught by the fimbria. inverted pear-shaped organ in the female pelvis which is specifically designed to protect and nurture a growing baby. However. Fertilization blocks the ability of additional sperm to enter the egg. The zygote contains all the genetic information required to become a complete human being. Granulosa cells also secrete a rich substance that forms a follicular coating called the zona pellucida. At birth. If sperm have made their way to the fallopian tube. A secondary oocyte and a small polar body result. the cellular layers surrounding the follicle differentiate into a layer of cells called the theca interna. Capacitation is the modification of a sperm's acrosomal tip which enables it to burrow into the egg. The follicle which housed the growing egg remains in the ovary and is transformed into the corpus luteum. The optimal time for an oocyte to be fertilized is when it enters a fallopian tube. The second 14 days of the menstrual cycle are called the luteal phase because of the corpus luteum's hormonal control over this half of the cycle. Ovulation entails the release of the mature oocyte from the ovarian follicle as it ruptures from the surface of the ovary into the abdominal cavity. This array of cells leaving the cell forms a radiant cluster called the corona radiata. As the ripening egg travels along the fallopian tube. At ovulation.6 cm) long by 2 in (5 cm) wide. Before birth. The corpus luteum secures a position near the ovarian blood vessels to supply these hormones which prevent another follicle from beginning maturation. which are finger-like projections off the ends of the fallopian tubes. If the secondary oocyte is fertilized. then they have already been capacitated. The uterus. then the corpus luteum degenerates allowing the next cycle to start. then it will go through another division which forms another polar body. This new life signifies the beginning of successful reproduction. The corpus luteum secretes high levels of progesterone and some estrogen. during pregnancy. If the ovum is fertilized. The first two weeks of the menstrual cycle are called the follicular phase because of the follicular development that occurs during that time. LH and FSH surge to initiate ovulation. it is washed along by cilia which knock away residual nutrient cells on the outside of the egg. it travels from the fallopian tube to the uterus. a baby girl's ova are suspended at the first meiotic division inside the primary follicles. Once the nuclei of the egg and sperm cells have fused. or womb. the primary oocyte completes its suspended meiosis and divides in two. Around day 14 of the cycle. the new cell is called a zygote. if fertilization does not occur. a new follicle enters the next phase of follicular growth monthly.
. However. the vagina stretches to accommodate the passage of the baby. During sexual intercourse. labia minora. the lining (or endometrium) of the uterus becomes thick and filled with many blood vessels in preparation for supporting an embryo.7 cm) long. then this lining is shed in menstrual blood through the cervix. A mucous membrane lines and moistens the vagina. The labia majora are two folds of skin which protect the opening to the urethra and internal genitals. The vagina is a muscular tube about 5 in (12. nerve endings. The hood houses the clitoris. Inside these outer skin folds are the labia minora which are hairless. Between the labia minora and the vagina is the area called the vestibule. when menstruation becomes less frequent and eventually stops altogether. In the excitement phase. During childbirth. pushes fluid into the vaginal canal. This lubricating process is called transudation and allows for comfortable penile insertion. Both the uterus and the vagina contract to relatively original sizes some time after delivery. but is usually gone in physically or sexually active females. This cycle continues until menopause. Pubic hair grows on their outer surface in puberty. the vagina is lubricated further and functions to direct the penis toward the cervix to optimize fertilization.a human in the first eight weeks of development. the cervix becomes plugged with thick mucus to isolate the developing baby from vaginal events. blood infiltrates the spongy clitoris and labia. sexual intercourse is usually safe during pregnancy. labia majora. During childbirth. for most of the pregnancy. a very sensitive organ which has a spongy shaft and a nerve-rich glans (tip). it becomes dilated (open) to allow the baby to move into the vagina. and numerous blood vessels. Female sexual arousal is not required to reproduce. but it does facilitate reproduction. Sexual arousal in females parallels the arousal stages in males. blood flow to the vagina increases which. and blood pressure increase. non-reproductive. and respiration. They differ in size and color from female to female. The labia minora form a spongy covering for the vaginal entrance. External female genitals include the mons veneris. During the follicular phase of the menstrual cycle. The narrow passageway of the cervix is just large enough to allow sperm to enter and menstrual blood to exit. For this reason. If fertilization does not occur within about eight days of ovulation. These smaller skin folds meet at the top of the genitals to form the clitoral hood. Nipples often become erect. heart rate. and vestibule. After that. clitoris. These fat padded folds of skin contain sweat glands. in turn. Within the vestibule are the two Bartholin's glands which lubricate the vagina. but their location and function are consistent. A thin layer of tissue called the hymen may cover the vaginal opening. or birth canal. The mons is a pad of fatty tissue filled with many nerve endings which becomes covered with pubic hair in puberty. During this phase. and the cervix and uterus are lifted up away from the vagina. the human is called a fetus. The cervix is the base of the uterus which extends into the vagina.
The reproductive method whereby a male and female of a particular species interact and exchange genetic material to create offspring is called sexual reproduction.During the plateau stage. the vaginal opening contracts rhythmically for about 15 seconds. One important type of parental care is the use of the mammary glands in the female breasts to nurse the baby. particularly communicable sexually transmitted diseases Most other vertebrate animals have generally similar reproductive systems consisting of gonads. this process is known as pregnancy in humans. Without the reproductive system. is called asexual reproduction. genital blood flow returns to normal. which allows for the possibility of greater genetic fitness of the offspring The major organs of the reproductive system includes. Human's babies and children are nearly helpless and require high levels of parental care for many years. Labor consists of the muscles of the uterus contracting. and openings. and the baby passing out the vagina (the female genital organ). babies would not be born to grow into adults to give birth to more babies. Diseases of the human reproductive system are very common and widespread. the vagina expands. this is called "tenting. females are more likely to be multi-orgasmic and capable of more closely spaced orgasms. the external genitalia (penis and vulva) as well as a number of internal organs including the gamete producing gonads (testicles and ovaries). but the human race does. Humans reproduce by this latter method. Respiration. and breasts sometimes become flushed. hormones." The increased sensitivity of the clitoris causes it to retract in the clitoral hood. Reproductive system The reproductive system or genital system is a system of organs within an organism which work together for the purpose of reproduction. the erect penis of the male is inserted into the female's vagina until the male ejaculates semen. Many non-living substances such as fluids. The human cycle would end. Upon successful fertilization and implantation. Human reproductive system Human reproduction takes place as internal fertilization by sexual intercourse. gestation of the foetus then occurs within the female's uterus for approximately nine months. These differences allow for a combination of genetic material between two individuals. During this process. All living things on the planet reproduce more of their own kind. heart rate. The female reproductive system has two functions: The first is to produce egg cells. which contains sperm. Some organisms reproduce by splitting in half or by growing buds that eventually turn into copies of the original organism. the process of birth is known as labor. the sexes of differentiated species often have significant differences. in which a single organism reproduces itself. An individual does not need the system to survive. Unlike most organ systems. This method. and they do so in one of two ways. into the female's vagina. and pheromones are also important accessories to the reproductive system. and the second is to . Within 72 hours of sexual intercourse reproduction will either have successfully begun or not succeeded. ducts. there is a great diversity of physical adaptations as well as reproductive strategies in every group of vertebrates. However. The sperm then travels through the vagina and cervix into the uterus or fallopian tubes for fertilization of the ovum. Unlike the lengthy refractory period which males experience in the resolution stage. In the resolution stage. The Reproductive System The reproductive system makes life possible. Gestation ends with birth. and blood pressure also return to normal. forming a pocket near the cervix which is an ideal deposit site for sperm. In the orgasmic phase. the cervix dilating.
the uterus. to the uterus. during intercourse this area is lubricated by mucus secreted by the Bartholin's glands. minimizing the loss of calcium from bones and thus helping to keep bones strong. cells that change their gene expression in response to the hormone. The male reproductive system has one function.. which also includes the labia. i. Here we shall focus on the role of progesterone in the menstrual cycleand pregnancy [Link to a special page on progesterone]. in most classifications breasts are not considered to be part of the female reproductive system. They are primarily responsible for the conversion of girls into sexually-mature women. In addition to differences in nearly every reproductive organ. which leads from the vulva. The vagina meets the outside at the vulva. At certain intervals. Humans have a high level of sexual differentiation. The human female reproductive system is a series of organs primarily located inside of the body and around the pelvic region of a female that contribute towards the reproductive process. called the endometrium.e. The lining of the uterus. They antagonize the effects of the parathyroid hormone.protect and nourish the offspring until birth. In "target" cells. some having nothing to do with sex and reproduction. The hormone-receptor complex enters the nucleus (if it formed in the cytoplasm) [View] and binds to specific sequences of DNA. typically approximately every 28 days. They promote blood clotting. How estrogens and progesterone achieve their effects Steroids like estrogens and progesterone are small. The human female reproductive system contains three main parts: the vagina. the vaginal opening. It has many effects in the body. which produce the female's ova. the ovaries release an ovum. they bind to receptor proteins located in the cytoplasm and/or nucleus. However. which passes through the fallopian tube into the uterus. called the estrogen (or progesterone) response elements Response elements are located in the promoters of genes. Gene expression in the cell produces the response. The breasts are also a reproductive organ during the parenting stage of reproduction. and . numerous differences typically occur in secondary sexual characteristics. Progesterone Progesterone is also a steroid. clitoris and urethra. Female reproductive system Female Reproductive System Estrogens are steroids. while the uterus is attached to the ovaries via the fallopian tubes. and it is to produce and deposit sperm. which holds the developing fetus. development of breasts further development of the uterus and vagina broadening of the pelvis growth of pubic and axillary hair increase in adipose (fat) tissue participate in the monthly preparation of the body for a possible pregnancy participate in pregnancy if it occurs Estrogens also have non-reproductive effects. and theovaries. The vagina is attached to the uterus through the cervix. hydrophobic molecules that are transported in the blood bound to a serum globulin. The hormone-receptor complex acts as a transcription factor (often recruiting other transcription factors to help) which turns on (sometimes off) transcription of those genes.
The female reproductive system is designed to carry out several functions. Gametogenesis occurs when certain types of germ cells undergo meiosis to split the normal diploid number of chromosome(n=46) into haploids cells containing only 23 chromosomes." the labia majora are relatively large and fleshy. Production of gametes The production of gametes takes place within the gonads through a process known as gametogenesis. If the ova is fertilized by sperm. the labia majora are covered with hair. The immature spermatozoon or sperm are then sent to the epididymis where they gain a tail and motility. it attaches to the endometrium and the fetus develops. In contrast with males. Each ovary contains on average hundreads of egg cells. called the ova or oocytes. The function of the external female reproductive structures (the genitals) is twofold: To enable sperm to enter the body and to protect the internal genital organs from infectious organisms. called the prepuce. • Labia minora: Literally translated as "small lips. • Bartholin's glands: These glands are located beside the vaginal opening and produce a fluid (mucus) secretion. The clitoris is covered by a fold of skin. the pituitary gland releases a horone that stimulates some of the eggs to develop and grow. After puberty. What Parts make up the Female Anatomy? The female reproductive anatomy includes parts inside and outside the body. each of the original diploid germ cells or primary oocytes will form only one mature ovum. The system is designed to transport the ova to the site of fertilization. and three polar bodies which are not capable of fertilization It has long been understood that in females. the female reproductive system produces female sex hormones that maintain the reproductive cycle. unlike males. In addition. beginning the initial stages of pregnancy. Literally translated as "large lips. It produces the female egg cells necessary for reproduction." the labia minora can be very small or up to 2 inches wide. and are comparable to the scrotum in males.unfertilized ova are shed each cycle through a process known as menstruation. and surround the openings to the vagina (the canal that joins the lower part of the uterus to the outside of the body) and urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the outside of the body). In males this process is known as spermatogenesis and takes place only after puberty in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. recent scientific data has challenged that hypothesis. This new data indicates that in at least some species of mammal oocytes continue to be replenished in females well after birth. • Clitoris: The two labia minora meet at the clitoris. and the second is to protect and nourish the offspring until birth. About every 28 days. which is similar to the . This process does not produce mature ovum until puberty. sensitive protrusion that is comparable to the penis in males. and that the final stages of ova production will then not resume until puberty However. a small. If fertilization and/or implantation do not take place. the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. The female reproductive system has two functions. The labia majora contain sweat and oil-secreting glands. The next step for the fertilized egg is to implant into the walls of the uterus. the system is designed to menstruate (the monthly shedding of the uterine lining). In females gametogenesis is known as oogenesis which occurs in the ovarian follicles of the ovaries. all of the primary oocytes ever found in a female will be created prior to birth. The ovaries then produce hormones that get the uterus to receive the egg. Conception. Each of the original diploid germs cells or primary spermatocytes forms four functional gametes which is each forever young. The female has two reproductive organs called ovaries. They lie just inside the labia majora. The first is to produce egg cells. normally occurs in the fallopian tubes. The main external structures of the female reproductive system include: • Labia majora: The labia majora enclose and protect the other external reproductive organs.
which is the lower part that opens into the vagina. The prostate needs a lot of zinc to function properly. Conception. but severe cases require surgical removal of portions of the prostate. outpatient operation that involves making a small slit in each scrotum. the vas deferens goes up. and insufficient dietary zinc (as well as other causes) can lead to enlargement which potentially can constrict the urethra to the point of interferring with urination. This surgery. in males. In ejaculation. very hot baths. and tying off the cut ends to prevent sperm from leaving the scrotum. the fertilization of an egg by a sperm. The seminal vesicles empty into the ejaculatory ducts.foreskin at the end of the penis. It also is known as the birth canal. The internal reproductive organs in the female include: • Vagina: The vagina is a canal that joins the cervix (the lower part of uterus) to the outside of the body. • Uterus (womb): The uterus is a hollow. which tends to be acidic. A channel through the cervix allows sperm to enter and menstrual blood to exit. if not done very carefully can lead to problems with urination or sexual performance. The ejaculatory ducts then empty into the urethra (which. The seminal vesicles are also located behind the bladder. These are a small pair of glands along the urethra below the prostate. The bulbourethral glands or Cowper’s glands are the third of the accessory structures. normally occurs in the fallopian tubes. The initial segment of the urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland (note spelling!). Note also that a woman’s body temperature is lowest around the time of ovulation to help insure sperm live longer to reach the egg. Couples should carefully weigh their options. Their secretions are about 60% of the total volume of thesemen (= sperm and associated fluid) and contain mucus. where it implants into the lining of the uterine wall. Mild cases of prostate hypertrophy can often be treated by adding supplemental zinc to the man’s diet. The ends of the vasa deferentia. are called the ejaculatory ducts. and the acidity of the woman’s vagina. over the top of. Normal body temperature is too hot thus is lethal to sperm so the testes are outside of the abdominal cavity where the temperature is about 2° C (3. Like the penis. Sperm are produced in the testes located in the scrotum. • Fallopian tubes: These are narrow tubes that are attached to the upper part of the uterus and serve as tunnels for the ova (egg cells) to travel from the ovaries to the uterus. These secretions are alkaline to buffer any residual urine. If a man takes too many long. because this (and the corresponding female procedure) is not designed to be a reversible operation. • Ovaries: The ovaries are small. this can reduce his sperm count. coiled tubules also found within the scrotum. The fertilized egg then moves to the uterus. The uterus is divided into two parts: the cervix. sperm are transferred to the epididymis. A vasectomy is a fairly simple. and prostaglandins to stimulate female uterine contractions to move the semen up into the uterus. fructose as the main energy source for the sperm. cutting the vasa deferentia near where they begin. From the epididymis. and the main body of the uterus. The ovaries produce eggs and hormones. around the front of. the clitoris is very sensitive to stimulation and can become erect. Because this is a relatively non-invasive procedure (as compared to doing the same to a woman’s oviducts). The prostate is the largest of the accessory glands and puts its secretions directly into the urethra.6° F) lower. also empties the urinary bladder). this is a popular method of permanent birth control once a couple has had all the children they desire. Undescended testes (testes are supposed to descend before birth) will cause sterility because their environment is too warm for sperm viability unless the problem can be surgically corrected. and behind the bladder. amino acids. behind and slightly under the bladder. Their fluid is secreted just before emission of the . pear-shaped organ that is the home to adeveloping fetus. called the corpus. that store sperm and are the site of their final maturation. oval-shaped glands that are located on either side of the uterus. The corpus can easily expand to hold a developing baby. sperm are forced up into the vas deferens (plural = vasa deferentia). From there.
which helps to stiffen it. cutting the vasa deferentia near where they begin. and tying off the cut ends to prevent sperm from leaving the scrotum. The ejaculatory ducts then empty into the urethra (which. the penis also has a bone.6° F) lower. this is a popular method of permanent birth control once a couple has had all the children they desire. the glans penis. outpatient operation that involves making a small slit in each scrotum. There is some evidence that uncircumcised males who do not keep the glans/prepuce area clean are slightly more prone to penile cancer. the baculum.semen. These are a small pair of glands along the urethra below the prostate. A vasectomy is a fairly simple. If a man takes too many long. The urethra goes through the penis. and insufficient dietary zinc (as well as other causes) can lead to enlargement which potentially can constrict the urethra to the point of interferring with urination. thus it is thought that this fluid may serve as a lubricant for inserting the penis into the vagina. over the top of. in males. this can reduce his sperm count. The ends of the vasa deferentia. In a number of other animals. The Male Reproductive System Sperm are produced in the testes located in the scrotum. and behind the bladder. This surgery. that store sperm and are the site of their final maturation. During arousal. the glans is covered by the foreskin or prepuce. but rather a cultural “tradition”. The prostate needs a lot of zinc to function properly. around the front of. and prostaglandins to stimulate female uterine contractions to move the semen up into the uterus. people are not totally sure of this function. because this (and the corresponding female procedure) is not designed to be a reversible operation. Note also that a woman’s body temperature is lowest around the time of ovulation to help insure sperm live longer to reach the egg. sperm are transferred to the epididymis. From the epididymis. behind and slightly under the bladder. Males who have not been circumcised need to keep the area between the glans and the prepuce clean so bacteria and/or yeasts don’t start to grow on accumulated secretions. In humans. The head of the penis. Normal body temperature is too hot thus is lethal to sperm so the testes are outside of the abdominal cavity where the temperature is about 2° C (3. which tends to be acidic. From there. and the acidity of the woman’s vagina. In ejaculation. The bulbourethral glands or Cowper’s glands are the third of the accessory structures. but severe cases require surgical removal of portions of the prostate. coiled tubules also found within the scrotum. Their secretions are about 60% of the total volume of thesemen (= sperm and associated fluid) and contain mucus. but because the volume of these secretions is very small. Because this is a relatively non-invasive procedure (as compared to doing the same to a woman’s oviducts). is very sensitive to stimulation. Mild cases of prostate hypertrophy can often be treated by adding supplemental zinc to the man’s diet. the vas deferens goes up. fructose as the main energy source for the sperm. are called the ejaculatory ducts. which is necessary for insertion of the penis into the woman’s vagina. sperm are forced up into the vas deferens (plural = vasa deferentia). amino acids. Undescended testes (testes are supposed to descend before birth) will cause sterility because their environment is too warm for sperm viability unless the problem can be surgically corrected. there. erectile tissue. The seminal vesicles are also located behind the bladder. circumcision is not a necessity. as in other mammals. The seminal vesicles empty into the ejaculatory ducts. these become filled with blood from the arteries that supply them and the pressure seals off the veins that drain these areas causing an erection. etc. In humans. very hot baths. These secretions are alkaline to buffer any residual urine. Medically. The prostate is the largest of the accessory glands and puts its secretions directly into the urethra. The initial segment of the urethra is surrounded by the prostate gland (note spelling!). Couples should carefully weigh their options. also empties the urinary bladder). which may have been removed by circumcision. the penis contains three cylinders of spongy. Their fluid is secreted just before emission of the . if not done very carefully can lead to problems with urination or sexual performance.
coiled tube that rests on the backside of each testicle. the testes must be at a temperature slightly cooler than body temperature. • Penis: This is the male organ used in sexual intercourse. include the following: • Epididymis: The epididymis is a long. The body of the penis is cylindrical in shape and consists of three circular shaped chambers. which attaches to the wall of the abdomen. and the glans. the primary male sex hormone. the baculum. As the penis fills with blood. which may have been removed by circumcision. These chambers are made up of special. In humans. secured at either end by a structure called the spermatic cord. the glans penis. but rather a cultural “tradition”. most of the male reproductive system is located outside of the body. The penis also contains a number of sensitive nerve endings. Most men have two testes. The internal organs of the male reproductive system. the glans is covered by the foreskin or prepuce. In a number of other animals. The opening of the urethra. the penis contains three cylinders of spongy. allowing only semen to be ejaculated at orgasm. For normal sperm development. maintain. the body. it becomes rigid and erect. etc. also called accessory organs. which is the cone-shaped part at the end of the penis. These external structures include the penis. is covered with a loose layer of skin called foreskin. as well as many nerves and blood vessels. Semen. circumcision is not a necessity. Special muscles in the wall of the scrotum allow it to contract and relax. It transports and stores sperm cells that are produced in the testes. and testicles. It contains the testicles (also called testes). which allows for penetration during sexual intercourse. There is some evidence that uncircumcised males who do not keep the glans/prepuce area clean are slightly more prone to penile cancer. In humans. This tissue contains thousands of large spaces that fill with blood when the man is sexually aroused. which helps to stiffen it. It also is the job of the epididymis to . the tube that transports semen and urine. there. • Scrotum: This is the loose pouch-like sac of skin that hangs behind and below the penis. or shaft. sponge-like tissue. the flow of urine is blocked from the urethra. also called the head of the penis. which contains sperm (reproductive cells). The testes are responsible for making testosterone. • Testicles (testes): These are oval organs about the size of large olives that lie in the scrotum. The head of the penis. is very sensitive to stimulation. It has three parts: the root. The urethra goes through the penis. these become filled with blood from the arteries that supply them and the pressure seals off the veins that drain these areas causing an erection. Males who have not been circumcised need to keep the area between the glans and the prepuce clean so bacteria and/or yeasts don’t start to grow on accumulated secretions. The scrotum acts as a "climate control system" for the testes. erectile tissue. but because the volume of these secretions is very small. and for generating sperm. scrotum. This skin is sometimes removed in a procedure called circumcision. Medically. The purpose of the organs of the male reproductive system is to perform the following functions: • To produce. is expelled (ejaculated) through the end of the penis when the man reaches sexual climax (orgasm). as in other mammals. The skin of the penis is loose and elastic to accommodate changes in penis size during an erection. which is necessary for insertion of the penis into the woman’s vagina. the penis also has a bone. moving the testicles closer to the body for warmth or farther away from the body to cool the temperature. people are not totally sure of this function. These tubes are responsible for producing sperm cells. The glans. During arousal. thus it is thought that this fluid may serve as a lubricant for inserting the penis into the vagina. is at the tip of the penis. When the penis is erect.semen. and transport sperm (the male reproductive cells) and protective fluid (semen) • To discharge sperm within the female reproductive tract during sex • To produce and secrete male sex hormones responsible for maintaining the male reproductive system Unlike the female reproductive system. Within the testes are coiled masses of tubes called seminiferous tubules.
Both organ systems are derived from the intermediate mesoderm. there are a number of homologous structures shared between them due to their common origins within the fetus. The seminal vesicles produce a sugar-rich fluid (fructose) that provides sperm with a source of energy to help them move. ejaculatory duct. The prostate gland contributes additional fluid to the ejaculate. The vas deferens transports mature sperm to the urethra. • Ejaculatory ducts: These are formed by the fusion of the vas deferens and the seminal vesicles (see below). • Seminal vesicles: The seminal vesicles are sac-like pouches that attach to the vas deferens near the base of the bladder. allowing only semen to be ejaculated at orgasm. Endocrine hormones are a well known and critical controlling factor in the normal differentiation of the reproductive system. For the Müllerian Duct this process is reversed as it essentially disappears in the male reproductive system and forms the fallopian tubes. contractions force the sperm into the vas deferens. ductus deferens. because they are derived from the same undeveloped structure they are considered homologous organs. and seminal vesicle in the male reproductive system and essentially disappears in the female reproductive system. • Vas deferens: The vas deferens is a long. The fluid of the seminal vesicles makes up most of the volume of a man's ejaculatory fluid. The urethra. There are a number of other homologous structures shared between male and female reproductive systems. Prostate fluids also help to nourish the sperm. slippery fluid that empties directly into the urethra. these are pea-sized structures located on the sides of the urethra just below the prostate gland. When the penis is erect during sex. they are not homologous but rather analogous structures as they arise from different fetal structures. the flow of urine is blocked from the urethra. • Urethra: The urethra is the tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside of the body. • Bulbourethral glands: Also called Cowper's glands. The three main fetal precursors of the reproductive organs are the Wolffian duct. vas deferens. This fluid serves to lubricate the urethra and to neutralize any acidity that may be present due to residual drops of urine in the urethra. Examples of homologous human reproductive organs Male organ Female organ Shared function Cowper's gland Bartholin's glands Lubrication secretions Penis Clitoris . The ejaculatory ducts empty into the urethra. In males. muscular tube that travels from the epididymis into the pelvic cavity. During sexual arousal. to just behind the bladder. the tube that carries urine or sperm to outside of the body. These glands produce a clear. Development of the reproductive system The development of the reproductive system and urinary systems are closely tied in the development of the human fetus. it has the additional function of ejaculating semen when the man reaches orgasm. and the gonad. runs through the center of the prostate gland. uterus. In both sexes the gonad goes on to form the testes and ovaries. in preparation for ejaculation. • Prostate gland: The prostate gland is a walnut-sized structure that is located below the urinary bladder in front of the rectum. or ejaculate. However. Despite the differences between the adult male and female reproductive system. which carries the ejaculate to be expelled during orgasm. since the sperm that emerge from the testes are immature and incapable of fertilization. and vagina in the female system.bring the sperm to maturity. The Wolffian duct forms the epididymis. Müllerian ducts. despite the similarity in function of the female fallopian tubes and the male epididymis and vas deferens.
Erectile tissue and sensation Testes Ovary Gamete production Prostate gland Skene's gland Ejaculatory fluid and sensation .
or other causes. or absent lubrication in females during sexual activity Premature ejaculation . males of most species do not remain continually sexually fertile as humans do.A genetic disorder causing people who are genetically male (i. physical damage. Cervical Cancer . Common chemicals with known links to reproductive disorders include: lead.A condition of decreased. most groups of mammals have . most mammalian males have a penis which is stored internally until erect. and Bloom syndrome.Cancer of penis. ANIMALS A newborn joey suckles from a teatfound within its mother's pouch Most mammal reproductive systems are similar. Examples of congenital abnormalities Kallmann syndrome . XY chromosome pair) to develop sexually as a female due to an inability to utilize androgen.Cancer of the prostate gland. and 4) functional problems cause by environmental factors.A low level of sexual desire and interest.Cancer of the testis/(plural:testes.When a fertilized ovum is implanted in any tissue other than the uterine wall.The inability of a male to produce or maintain an erection. Uterine cancer . Additionally. Many congenial conditions cause reproductive abnormalities but are better known for their other symptoms. Penile cancer . Hypogonadism . Cystic fibrosis.Cancer of the ovary.Genetic disorder causing decreased functioning of the sex hormone-producing glands caused by a deficiency or both testes from the scrotum. toluene. insufficient. Many other reproductive diseases have also been link to exposure to synthetic and environmental chemicals. There are four main categories of reproductive diseases in humans. Female sexual arousal disorder .Cancer of the cervix. these include: Turner syndrome. 2) cancers. styrene. autoimmune disorders.A person who has genitalia and/or other sexual traits which are not clearly male or female. Specific reproductive diseases are often symptoms of other diseases and disorders. Ovarian cancer . Klinefelter's syndrome. Ectopic pregnancy . Examples of unclassifiable disorders include Peyronie's disease in males and endometriosis in females.e. 3) infections which are often sexually transmitted diseases. or unknown causes making them difficult to classify. They are: 1) genetic orcongenital abnormalities. and most have a penis bone or baculum. psychological issues. dioxin.Cancer of the uterus. Like humans.A lack of voluntary control over ejaculation. Examples of functional problems Impotence . Examples of cancers Prostate cancer . and pesticides. Testicular cancer . The best known type of functional problems includes sexual dysfunction and infertility which are both broad terms relating to many disorders with many causes. Intersexuality . Hypoactive sexual desire disorder .Diseases of the human reproductive system Like all complex organ systems the human reproductive system is affected by many diseases. For instance.A lack of function of the gonads. Androgen insensitivity syndrome . Breast cancer . or have multiple. It is also known that disruption of the endocrine system by certain chemical adversely affects the development of the reproductive system and can cause vaginal cancer.Cancer of the mammary gland. however. there are some notable differences between the "normal" mammal and humans. in regards to either hormones or gamete production.
and a few groups of mammals. Most fish however are oviparous and exhibit external fertilization. males usually have a two-pronged penis which corresponds to the females' two vaginae.A small portion of fish species are either viviparous or ovoviviparous. Unlike most vertebrates female birds typically have only one functional ovary and oviduct. Most fish are sexually dimorphic but some species are hermaphroditic or unisexual.e. All have paired. The female lays amniotic eggs in which the young fetus continues to develop after it leaves the female's body. while clinging to fur. such as elephants. The 15mm (5/8 in) long newborn joey instinctively crawls and wriggles the several inches (15 cm). Intercourse is performed by pressing the lips of the cloacae together. birds. have undescended testicles found deep within their body cavities near their kidneys. Reproductive organs are found within the cloaca of reptiles. Marsupials typically develop their offspring in an external pouch containing teats to which their newborn young (joeys) attach themselves for post uterine development. Marsupials are unique in that the female has two vaginae. Fish Fish exhibit a wide range of different reproductive strategies. urine. amphibians. others have descended testicles that rest on the ventral body wall. and wastes pass. In this process. marsupials have a unique prepenial scrotum. an opening through which eggs. a group of egg-laying mammals. typically within the water. like mammals. also lack a uterus and vagina. Amphibians Main article: Amphibian#Reproduction Most amphibians exhibit external fertilization of eggs. Other species of fish are oviparous and have internal fertilization aided by pelvic or anal fins that are modified into an intromittent organ analogous to the human penis. which are usually retracted or inverted and stored inside the body. Birds Male and female birds have a cloaca. sperm. or fish. platypus andechidnas). though some amphibians such as caecilians have internal fertilization. Some reptiles lay eggs while others are viviparous (animals that deliver live young). a white fluid containing many sperm over the unfertilized eggs. In place of the uterus the other vertebrate groups have an unmodified oviduct leading directly to a cloaca. females use their cloaca to release large quantities of their gametes. on the way to its mother's pouch. which is sometimes knownaintromittent organ which is known as a phallus that is analogous to the mammals' penis. reptiles.descended testicles found within a scrotum. Invertebrates Invertebrates have an extremely diverse array of reproductive systems. The uterus and vagina are unique to mammals with no homologue in birds. Fish gonads are typically pairs of either ovaries or testes. and feces. internal gonads. both of which open externally through one orifice but lead to different compartments within the uterus. while male snakes and lizards each possess a pair of penis-like organs. the male has a single median penis-like organ. the only commonality may be . connected by ducts to the cloaca. are noted for their high level of parental care. Reptiles Reptiles are almost all sexually dimorphic. In turtles and crocodilians. Most male reptiles have copulatory organs. and in that respect have a reproductive system resembling that of a reptile. As a group. and are collectively known as livebearers. however. Monotremes (i. which is a shared exit-hole for gametes. Also. called spawn into the water and one or more males release "milt". and exhibit internal fertilization through the cloaca.
In rhizomatic growth the root structures of the plant spread along the ground and develop new growth along their length. Asexual Reproduction Many plants reproduce asexually. in which the seeds grow. In the female of most cephalopods the nidamental glands aid in development of the egg. Most cephalopods have semiinternal fertilization. the ovary develops into a fruit. and arthropods. . Once the flower is pollinated. such as butterflies and bees. aside from cephalopods. Likewise. to carry the pollen from the stamen to the carpel of another flower. which then most often is distributed by the wind or other abiotic factor to the female cones.that they all lay eggs. Plants that reproduce asexually can do so through budding. usually from the roots or leaf tips. because their reproductive strategy revolves around flowers. In budding. miniature plants develop from the main plant. male cephalopods have only a single teste. Gymnosperm Reproduction Gymnosperms are known commonly as coniferous plants because their reproductive strategy relies on cones. The flowers of most angiosperms contain male (stamen) and female (pistil) reproductive structures. Angiosperm Reproduction Angiosperms commonly are called flowering plants. which close and begin to develop seeds. That in turn is used to transfer the spermatophores to the female. In species where the hectocotylus is missing. the cones drop and open. the "penis" is long and able to extend beyond the mantle cavity and transfer the spermatophores directly to the female. Also. depositing their progeny. The "penis" in most unshelled male cephalopods (Coleoidea) is a long and muscular end of the gonoduct used to transfer spermatophores to a modified arm called a hectocotylus. When the seeds are fully grown and conditions are right. in which the male places his gametes inside the female's mantle cavity orpallial cavity to fertilize the ova found in the female's single ovary. then develop alongside the mother plant. Cephalopods All cephalopods are sexually dimorphic and reproduce by laying eggs. In fragmentation the plant is divided and the pieces continue to grow into new plants. fragmentation or rhizomes. nearly all other invertebrates are hermaphroditic and exhibit external fertilization. The male cones drop their pollen. Most angiosperms rely on third-party pollinators. Each plant has male and female cones. some even in addition to sexual reproduction.