Human Male Reproductive System
Image Caption : Male Reproductive System: 3D visualization of the male reproductive system reconstructed from scanned human data. Remaining dormant until puberty, the ultimate goal of the male reproductive system is to produce and deliver the male gamete, sperm to the female where fertilization can occur. The male gonads, the testes, serve two functions: to manufacture motile sperm and produce male sex hormones. The accessory ducts serve to aid in the delivery of sperm from its production site to the exterior of the body. These accessory structures include the epididymis, ductus deferens and urethra. Accessory glands, such as the prostate, seminal vesicles, bulbourethral glands serve to produce semen which is made up of proteins which facilitate the motility of sperm.
MALE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
The male reproductive system, like that of the female, consists of those organs whose function is to produce a new individual, i.e., to accomplish reproduction. This system consists of a pair of testes and a network of excretory ducts (epididymis, ductus deferens (vas deferens), and ejaculatory ducts), seminal vesicles, the prostate, the bulbourethral glands, and the penis.
INTRODUCTION TO THE REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEM
The major function of the reproductive system is to ensure survival of the species. Other systems in the body, such as the endocrine and urinary systems, work continuously to maintain homeostasis for survival of the individual. An individual may live a long, healthy, and happy life without producing offspring, but if the species is to continue, at least some individuals must produce offspring.
Within the context of producing offspring, the reproductive system has four functions:
- To produce egg and sperm cells
- To transport and sustain these cells
- To nurture the developing offspring
- To produce hormones
These functions are divided between the primary and secondary, or accessory, reproductive organs. The primary reproductive organs, or gonads, consist of the ovaries and testes. These organs are responsible for producing the egg and sperm cells gametes), and hormones. These hormones function in the maturation of the reproductive system, the development of sexual characteristics, and regulation of the normal physiology of the reproductive system. All other organs, ducts, and glands in the reproductive system are considered secondary, or accessory, reproductive organs. These structures transport and sustain the gametes and nurture the developing offspring.
The gonads, the primary reproductive organs, are the testes in the male and the ovaries in the female. These organs are responsible for producing the sperm and ova, but they also secrete hormones and are considered to be endocrine glands.
Male sex hormones, as a group, are called androgens. The principal androgen is testosterone, which is secreted by the testes. A small amount is also produced by the adrenal cortex. Production of testosterone begins during fetal development, continues for a short time after birth, nearly ceases during childhood, and then resumes at puberty. This steroid hormone is responsible for:
- The growth and development of the male reproductive structures
- Increased skeletal and muscular growth
- Enlargement of the larynx accompanied by voice changes
- Growth and distribution of body hair
- Increased male sexual drive
Testosterone secretion is regulated by a negative feedback system that involves releasing hormones from the hypothalamus and gonadotropins from the anterior pituitary.
The male reproductive system consists of a number of sex organs that play a role in the process of human reproduction . These organs are located on the outside of the body and within the pelvis.
The main male sex organs are the penis and the testicles which produce semen and sperm, which, as part of sexual intercourse, fertilize an ovum in the female's body; the fertilized ovum (zygote) develops into a fetus, which is later born as an infant.
The corresponding system in females is the female reproductive system.
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