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The reproductive system or genital system is a set of organs within an organism that work
together to produce offspring. Many non-living substances, such as fluids, hormones, and
pheromones, are important accessories to the reproductive system. Unlike most organ
systems, the sexes of differentiated species often have significant differences. These
differences allow for a combination of genetic material between two individuals and thus the
possibility of greater genetic fitness of the offspring.


Reproductive physical maturity and the capacity for human reproduction begin during
puberty, a period of rapid growth and change experienced by both males and females.
Puberty is not an isolated event, but a process which takes place over several years.

During puberty, the hypothalamus (a gland located at the base of the brain which regulates
temperature, sleep, emotions, sexual function and behavior) produces hormones (chemicals
that originate in a gland or organ and travel through the blood to another organ, stimulating it
by chemical action to increase functional activity and secretions).

These hormones stimulate the gonads, the reproductive glands (the testes in males and the
ovaries in females) to produce testosterone (males) and estrogen and progesterone (females).

Male puberty generally occurs between the ages of 13-15 and is characterized by the
secretion of the male hormone testosterone, which stimulates spermatogenesis (sperm
production), and the development of secondary sexual characteristics (increased height and
weight, broadening shoulders, growth of the testes and penis, pubic and facial hair growth,
voice deepening, and muscle development).

Female puberty generally occurs between the ages of 9-13, and results in ovulation and
menstruation, which involve cyclic hormonal changes in estrogen and progesterone.
Secondary sexual characteristics (growth of pubic and underarm hair, breast enlargement,
vaginal and uterine growth, widening hips, increased height, weight and fat distribution) also
occur as part of the female pubertal process.


The human male reproductive system is a series of organs located outside of the body and
around the pelvic region. The primary direct function of the male reproductive system is to
provide the male gamete or spermatozoa for fertilization of the ovum. The major reproductive
organs of the male can be grouped into three categories. The first category is sperm
production and storage. Production takes place in the testes, housed in the temperature-
regulating scrotum. Immature sperm then travel to the epididymis for development and
storage. The second category, the ejaculatory fluid-producing glands, includes the seminal
vesicles, prostate, and vas deferens. The final category, used for copulation and deposition of
the spermatozoa (sperm) within the female, includes the penis, urethra, vas deferens, and
Cowper's gland.
1. Scrotum:It is the hanging skin sac in between the thighs. It is formed of pigmented skin
and has two compartments, in which are suspended two testes.
2. Testes:A pair of sex glands two testes are suspended in the scrotum by spermatic cord.
Each testes is whitish, ovoid solid gland. They are the male gonads and produce
spermatozoa and testosterone. The testosterone hormone is responsible for the secondary
sexual characteristics of male. It is also responsible for production of sperms, along with the
follicle-stimulating hormone.
There are three layers in the testes.
Tunica vasculosa is an inner layer of connective tissue.
Tunica albuginea is the fibrous covering, which divides the testes in to 200-300 lobules.
Tunica vaginalis is the outer covering, which is made up of peritoneum.
3. Seminiferous tubules: These are the place where spermatogenesis or the production of
sperm takes place. These tubules join to form a system of channels, which lead to the
4. Epididymis: It is a coiled tube traveling down to the lower pole of the testes where it leads
into the vas deferens. The spermatic cord transmits the deferent duct up into the body. The
function of the deferent duct or vas deferens is to carry the sperm to the ejaculatory duct.
5. The seminal vesicles are two pouches situated posterior to the bladder. They produce a
viscous secretion to keep the sperm alive and motile.
6. Ejaculatory ducts are small muscular ducts to carry the spermatozoa and the seminal
fluids to the urethra.
7. Prostate gland produces a thin lubricating fluid, which enters the urethra through ducts.
Prostate glands surround the urethra at the base of the bladder lying between the rectum and
the symphysis pubis.
8. The penis: The root lies in the perineum, from where it passes forward below the
symphysis pubis. It carries the urethra for the passage of both urine and semen.


The human female reproductive system is a series of organs primarily located inside the body
and around the pelvic region. It contains three main parts: the vagina, which leads from the
vulva, the vaginal opening, to the uterus; the uterus, which holds the developing fetus; and
the ovaries, which produce the female's ova. The breasts are also a reproductive organ during
parenting, but are usually not classified as part of the female reproductive system. The vagina
meets the outside at the vulva, which also includes the labia, clitoris, and urethra. During
intercourse, this area is lubricated by mucus secreted by the Bartholin's glands. The vagina is
attached to the uterus through the cervix, while the uterus is attached to the ovaries via the
Fallopian tubes. At certain intervals, approximately every 28 days, the ovaries release an
ovum that passes through the Fallopian tube into the uterus. If the ova is fertilized by sperm,
it attaches to the endometrium and the fetus develops. In months when fertilization does not
occur, the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, and unfertilized ova are shed each
cycle through a process known as menstruation.

1)Ovaries ;The
ovaries are a pair of
small glands about
the size and shape of
almonds, located on
the left and right sides
of the pelvic body
cavity lateral to the
superior portion of the uterus. Ovaries produce female sex hormones such as estrogen and
progesterone as well as ova (commonly called "eggs"), the female gametes. Ova are produced
from oocyte cells that slowly develop throughout a womans early life and reach maturity
after puberty. Each month during ovulation, a mature ovum is released. The ovum travels
from the ovary to the fallopian tube, where it may be fertilized before reaching the uterus.

2)Fallopian Tubes ;The fallopian tubes are a pair of muscular tubes that extend from the left
and right superior corners of the uterus to the edge of the ovaries. The fallopian tubes end in a
funnel-shaped structure called the infundibulum, which is covered with small finger-like
projections called fimbriae. The fimbriae swipe over the outside of the ovaries to pick up
released ova and carry them into the infundibulum for transport to the uterus. The inside of
each fallopian tube is covered in cilia that work with the smooth muscle of the tube to carry
the ovum to the uterus.
3)Uterus ;The uterus is a hollow, muscular, pear-shaped organ located posterior and superior
to the urinary bladder. Connected to the two fallopian tubes on its superior end and to the
vagina (via the cervix) on its inferior end, the uterus is also known as the womb, as it
surrounds and supports the developing fetus during pregnancy. The inner lining of the uterus,
known as the endometrium, provides support to the embryo during early development. The
visceral muscles of the uterus contract during childbirth to push the fetus through the birth

4)Vagina ;The vagina is an elastic, muscular tube that connects the cervix of the uterus to the
exterior of the body. It is located inferior to the uterus and posterior to the urinary bladder.
The vagina functions as the receptacle for the penis during sexual intercourse and carries
sperm to the uterus and fallopian tubes. It also serves as the birth canal by stretching to allow
delivery of the fetus during childbirth. During menstruation, the menstrual flow exits the
body via the vagina.

5)Vulva ;The vulva is the collective name for the external female genitalia located in the
pubic region of the body. The vulva surrounds the external ends of the urethral opening and
the vagina and includes the mons pubis, labia majora, labia minora, and clitoris. The mons
pubis, or pubic mound, is a raised layer of adipose tissue between the skin and the pubic bone
that provides cushioning to the vulva. The inferior portion of the mons pubis splits into left
and right halves called the labia majora. The mons pubis and labia majora are covered with
pubic hairs. Inside of the labia majora are smaller, hairless folds of skin called the labia
minora that surround the vaginal and urethral openings. On the superior end of the labia
minora is a small mass of erectile tissue known as the clitoris that contains many nerve
endings for sensing sexual pleasure.

6)Breasts and Mammary Glands ;The breasts are specialized organs of the female body
that contain mammary glands, milk ducts, and adipose tissue. The two breasts are located on
the left and right sides of the thoracic region of the body. In the center of each breast is a
highly pigmented nipple that releases milk when stimulated. The areola, a thickened, highly
pigmented band of skin that surrounds the nipple, protects the underlying tissues during
breastfeeding. The mammary glands are a special type of sudoriferous glands that have been
modified to produce milk to feed infants. Within each breast, 15 to 20 clusters of mammary
glands become active during pregnancy and remain active until milk is no longer needed. The
milk passes through milk ducts on its way to the nipple, where it exits the body.


The male hormones:

Under the influence of the gonadotrophic releasing hormone from the hypothalamus, the
anterior pituitary gland produces follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone
(LH). FSH acts on the seminiferous tubules to bring about the production of sperm. LH acts
on the interstitial cells, which produce testosterone. Testosterone is responsible for the
secondary sex characteristics such as deepening of the voice, growth of the genitalia and
growth of the hair on the chest, pubis, axilla and face.

The process of spermiogenesis is traditionally divided into four stages: the Golgi phase, the
cap phase, formation of tail, and the maturation stage.[1]

Golgi phase

The spermatids, which up until now have been mostly radially symmetrical, begin to develop

The head forms at one end, and the Golgi apparatus creates enzymes that will become
the acrosome.

At the other end, it develops a thickened mid-piece, where the mitochondria gather
and the distal centriole begins to form an axoneme.

Spermatid DNA also undergoes packaging, becoming highly condensed. The DNA is
packaged first, with specific nuclear basic proteins, which are subsequently replaced with
protamines during spermatid elongation. The resultant tightly packed chromatin is
transcriptionally inactive.

Cap/Acrosome phase
The Golgi apparatus surrounds the condensed nucleus, becoming the acrosomal cap.

Note how the tails of the sperm point inward. This orientation occurs during the acrosomal

Formation of Tail

One of the centrioles of the cell elongates to become the tail of the sperm. A temporary
structure called the "manchette" assists in this elongation.

During this phase, the developing spermatozoa orient themselves so that their tails point
towards the center of the lumen, away from the epithelium.

Maturation phase

The excess cytoplasm, known as residual bodies, is phagocytosed by surrounding Sertoli cells
in the testes.

The mature spermatozoa are released from the protective Sertoli cells into the lumen of the
seminiferous tubule and a process called spermiation then takes place, which removes the
remaining unnecessary cytoplasm and organelles.[2]

The resulting spermatozoa are now mature but lack motility, rendering them sterile. The non-
motile spermatozoa are transported to the epididymis in testicular fluid secreted by the Sertoli
cells with the aid of peristaltic contraction.

Whilst in the epididymis, they acquire motility. However, transport of the mature
spermatozoa through the remainder of the male reproductive system is achieved via muscle
contraction rather than the spermatozoon's motility. A glycoprotein coat over the acrosome
prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg prior to traveling through the male and female
reproductive tracts. Capacitation of the sperm by the enzymes FPP (fertilization promoting
peptide, produced by the male) and heparin (in the female reproductive tract) remove this
coat and allow sperm to bind to the egg.[

Formation of Spermatozoa

Production of sperm begins at puberty and continues throughout adult life. Spermatogenesis
begins in the seminiferous tubules of the testes. Sperm pass into the epididymis where they
mature and become motile so they are able to move through the vas deferens and into the
seminal vesicles where they mix with seminal fluids, rich in fructose and other nutrients. The
prostate gland and the Cowper's glands secrete fluids which also help to nourish and transport
the sperm. This mixture of fluids and sperm is called semen, the fluid which is expelled from
a man's penis during ejaculation. Sexual arousal can cause fluid from the Cowper's glands to
be released prior to ejaculation. This fluid is called pre-ejaculatory fluid and does not contain
sperm unless it is leftover from a previous ejaculation. Spermatogenesis takes place in the
seminiferous tubules under the influence of FSH and testosterone.

The matured sperms are stored in the epididymis and the vas deferens until ejaculation. At
each ejaculation, 2-4 ml of semen is deposited in the vagina. The seminal fluid contains about
100 million sperms per ml, which move at a speed of 2-3mm per minute. The individual
sperm has a head, a body and a long mobile tail. The sperm has an acrosome, which contains
enzymes to dissolve the covering of the ovum in order to penetrate it.

Female hormones:
The ovaries produce steroid hormones, estrogen and progesterone.

It is responsible for development and maintenance of the female reproductive organs and the
secondary sexual characteristics associated with the adult female. Estrogen also plays an
important role in breast development and in monthly cyclic changes (menstrual cycle) in the

Progesterone regulates the changes that occur in the uterus during the menstrual cycle. It is
secreted by the corpus luteum. Progesterone is important for conditioning the endometrium in
preparation for implantation of the fertilised ovum. If the pregnancy occurs, progesterone is
essential for maintaining a normal pregnancy. In addition, it works along with oestrogen in
preparing the breast for secretion of milk.

Oogenesis, in the human female reproductive system, growth process in which the primary egg
cell (or ovum) becomes a mature ovum. In any one human generation, the eggs development
starts before the female that carries it is even born; 8 to 20 weeks after the fetus has started to
grow, cells that are to become mature ova have been multiplying, and by the time that the
female is born, all of the egg cells that the ovaries will release during the active reproductive
years of the female are already present in the ovaries. These cells, known as the primary ova,
number around 400,000. The primary ova remain dormant until just prior to ovulation, when
an egg is released from the ovary. Some egg cells may not mature for 40 years; others
degenerate and never mature.

The egg cell remains as a primary ovum until the time for its release from the ovary arrives.
The egg then undergoes a cell division. The nucleus splits so that half of its chromosomes go
to one cell and half to another. One of these two new cells is usually larger than the other and
is known as the secondary ovum; the smaller cell is known as a polar body. The secondary
ovum grows in the ovary until it reaches maturation; it then breaks loose and is carried into
the fallopian tubes. Once in the fallopian tubes, the secondary egg cell is suitable for
fertilization by the male sperm cells.

Menstrual cycle or uterine cycle:

It is a series of changes in the uterus resulting in the discharge of blood from the vagina each
month. Menstruation can be defined as, sloughing and discharge of the lining of the uterus if
conception does not take place. This time varies in different women and also from time to
time-in same woman. The first day of the cycle is the first day when bleeding begins. The
ovarian hormones control the menstrual cycle. There are three main phases and they affect
the tissue structures of the endometrium. The average time of menstrual cycle is 28 days and
recurs regularly from puberty to menopause except in pregnancy.
The three phases are:

1. Proliferative phase: Follicular stimulating hormonal level increases in blood, stimulating

oestrogen secretion, which causes the endometrium to thicken and become more vascular.
This phase follows menstruation and lasts until ovulation.

2. Secretary phase: The secretary phase follows ovulation and is under the influence of
progesterone and oestrogen from the corpus luteum. Leutinising hormone level increases in
blood. Under the combined stimulus of estrogen and progesterone, the endometrium reaches
the peak of its thickening and vascularisation.

3. Menstrual phase: It is characterised by vaginal bleeding, lasts for 3 5 days. On absence

of fertilization, the thickened endometrium is shedded. Two Gonadotrophic hormones are
released by the anterior pituitary gland. They are:

-Follicular stimulating hormone:FSH is primarily responsible for stimulating the ovaries to

secrete oestrogen and for maturation of ovum.
-Luteinising Hormone (LH): LH is primarily responsible for stimulating the corpus luteum
for production of progesterone.

3. Puberty: This is the period in which, the reproductive organs develop and reach maturity.
The first signs are breast development and appearance of pubic hair. The body grows
considerably and takes on the female contour. Puberty culminates in the onset of
menstruation, the first period being called menarche. The first few cycles are not
accompanied by ovulation. Puberty usually occurs between 12 and 14 years.

Menopause: It is the end of a woman s reproductive life, characterised by the gradual

cessation of menstruation. The period first becomes irregular and then ceases altogether. This
occurs between the ages of 45 to 50. It is the normal part of aging and maturation.
Menstruation ceases because the ovaries are no longer active. No more ovarian hormones are
produced. The reproductive organs become atrophied
The reproductive system or genital system is a set of organs within an organism that work
together to produce offspring Reproductive physical maturity and the capacity for human
reproduction begin during puberty, a period of rapid growth and change experienced by both
males and females. Puberty is not an isolated event, but a process which takes place over
several years

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