Anatomy: Reproductive System

The reproductive system perpetuates our species by fusing two cells from different genders introduced through sexual intercourse or artificial insemination. Both genders create, ripen, store and transfer their respective sex cells (called gametes). Gametes in both sexes are created in a process called meiosis.

When gametes combine successfully, the merged sperm and ovum form a zygote; 7-10 days later, the still dividing and growing formation implants in the uterus and becomes an embryo. About eight weeks later, the embryo has developed into a fetus, which continues to develop into an infant, born after nine months of gestation.

Male Parts Involved

  • Testes (contain seminiferous tubules) – where sperm are produced
  • Scrotum – external bag of skin and muscles containing the testicles
  • Epididymis – where sperm mature
  • Vas deferens (ampulla) – narrow tube (about 18 inches long) connecting the epididymis to the ejaculatory ducts
  • Seminal vesicle – creates and secretes nutrient-rich seminal fluid, filled with fructose and amino acids (sperm food) and vitamin C to combat the acidity of the female’s sexual tract
  • Ejaculatory ducts – connect the vas deferens to the urethra
  • Prostate – produces a milky secretion
  • Cowper’s gland – produces a tiny amount of fluid in the outer penis that neutralizes any traces of acidic urine and lubricates the penis and female tract just prior to ejaculation (correlated to the female’s Bartholin glands)
  • Penis (glans penis, prepuce, shaft and urethra) – places sperm inside the female
  • Hypothalamus – secretes a hormone that contributes to sex organ function
  • Pituitary gland – produces hormones that manage the sex organ function in both sexes, as well as some aspects of pregnancy and childbirth
  • Adrenal cortex (zona reticulosa) – produces some testosterone is both sexes

Female Parts Involved

  • Ovaries (oocytes, ovarian follicles) – stores immature eggs (oocytes) produced since birth
  • Ovarian follicles (monthly fibro-vascular coatings produced around oocyctes) –  produced around all oocytes that go through meiosis in monthly cycle, one of which secretes estrogen which triggers the thickening of the uterine lining and ripens the egg (ovulation)
  • Fallopian tubes (fimbriae) – the fimbriae coax the ripened egg down the tube, where it is fertilized or not
  • Uterus (cervix) – major female reproductive organ, connected to Fallopian tubes and the vagina via the cervix
  • Vagina (4 inch elastic muscular tube) – receives sperm from male, serves as the birth canal and the means to release menstrual fluids
  • Paraurethral glands (G-spot) – producing milky fluid similar to the male prostate , as many as 30+ surround the urethra and vicinity
  • Vulva (mons pubis, labia majora and minora, prepuce, clitoral glans, clitoris and vagina opening) – external organs
  • Bartholin glands – produce a lubricating substance in the outer vagina when she is sexually aroused (correlated to the male’s Cowper’s glands)
  • Hypothalamus – secretes a hormone that contributes to sex organ function
  • Anterior pituitary gland – produces hormones that manage the sex organ function in both sexes
  • Adrenal cortex (zona reticulosa) – produces some testosterone is both sexes
  • Corpus luteum – produces progesterone in both sexes

Fun Facts

According to the Guinness Book of World’s Records, in the 18th century, a Russian peasant gave birth to 69 children over 40 years. Amongst them were 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets.

If an egg is not fertilized within 12-24 hours of being released from the follicle, it dissolves.

The clitoris is the only organ in humans seemingly designed purely for pleasure. It has twice the nerve endings of the entire penis.

Infant girls are born with 30,000 oocytes present in their ovaries! After reaching puberty, males typically produce 12 billion sperm per month!

Learn about research on how the male ‘pill’ may work.

Leave a Reply